Patron Registration

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Regarding sanctity of patron records, the library that registers the patron will own that record, and will accept full responsibility for maintaining correct information, with the exception of blocking and non-blocking notes, which can be added to a patron account by other libraries, taking into consideration patron confidentiality. Only that library can change information in the actual patron record.

Adopted 05/2015


Required Fields

Publics - The following fields will be required in patron records on Polaris:

  • Birthdate
  • Address (use address from materials Library requires proving residency to obtain Library card)
  • driver's license/id (including indication of state other than Illinois, or type of id used at the end of the number)

Schools - The following fields will be required in patron records on Polaris:

  • None

Academics - The following fields will be required in patron records on Polaris:

  • Birthdate
  • Address (use address from materials the individual institution requires for registration)
  • driver's license/id (including indication of state other than Illinois, or type of id used at the end of the number)

Specials - The following fields will be required in patron records on Polaris:

  • None


Acceptable Forms of ID

Acceptable forms of proof of residency are considered a local library decision.

Acceptable forms of ID include a valid photo ID from a government agency that contains the potential patron's legal name, and must be presented by all adults at the time they request a library card.


Patron moving from one jurisdiction to another

Generally, library patrons should only have one public library card. When a patron moves from one public library to another, the patron's new library will modify the previous library's patron record, instead of creating a new record. This only applies at public libraries. Special exceptions are listed below.

Children of Divorced Parents Exception

The library will not mediate between divorced parents. Each parent, signing as the financially responsible party, may request a library card for children in their respective household. 
Children of divorced parents may have dual cards in differing jurisdictions or in the same jurisdiction, dependent on each address. Parents will be responsible for monitoring the use of their children’s library card. A parent may request that either the library card or identification of the financially responsible parent must be present to check out materials.

Juvenile Cards Exception

Each library should develop a policy to determine their procedure when a patron with a juvenile card with fines returns as an adult, even if they have changed jurisdictions. You may choose to start a new adult account with a clean slate or refer the patron back to the library that still shows fines. If you do decide to start a clean slate account, please keep the juvenile account active. It would also be a courtesy to communicate the issue with the other member library, so that they can review their account as well. If they do give permission to waive the fines, you do not need to create a new account, but can instead treat it like a normal jurisdiction change.

Property Tax Exception

Patrons that own property in two different library service areas are entitled to receive library cards as taxpayers in both areas, if requested. The patron must provide proper documentation.
Staff Member Exception

Library staff members who live in one library service area and work at another library may have both a personal card and a professional card. 

Adopted 10/2014

Revised 10/2018

Revised 08/2022


Merging patron records

  • Schools: School Libraries should not merge patron records.
  • Academics: Academic Libraries should not merge patron records.
  • Specials: Special Libraries should not merge patron records.
  • Publics: Public Libraries should not merge records of patrons from different library type (School, Academic or Special).

Adopted 08/2016


School Library Cards

When a child changes from one school district to another, they automatically get a new school library card and a fresh start at their new school. You can accept any books to be returned, but each child is entitled to a clean slate at their new school.


Reciprocal Patron Registration

Reciprocal borrowing means the privilege of a person holding a valid library registration card from a local library to borrow library materials from other libraries - Sharing Policy: 75 ILCS 16/1-5.

  • Non-SHARE patrons must present a photo ID and a valid library card for their home library, which is a non-SHARE library.
  • The individual library will determine how to verify this information presented.
  • The individual library will choose the manner to barcode cards for reciprocal patrons, such as using the barcode from the patron's home library, or a separate barcode.
  • Reciprocal Borrower's patron type must be set to Reciprocal Patron Type in the database, for patrons of non-SHARE libraries.
  • Expiration date must be set to the expiration date of home library. It should be set for 1 year until the date is verified.
  • No PIN shall be issued to Reciprocal Patrons.
  • It is important to remember that according to the ILLINET Interlibrary Loan Code, libraries that initiate interlibrary loan transactions for Non-SHARE patrons assume responsibility for that transaction.
  • Non-SHARE patrons from non-SHARE libraries will have only one account in the SHARE database.

The reciprocal patron's home library is responsible for reimbursing the lending library for reciprocally borrowed items not returned by patrons. The reimbursement will be made within eight weeks of receipt of the bill from the lending library.

Adopted 01/2014

Revised 05/2015


Transitional and Affiliate Member Registration

Transitional and Affiliate members will be registered as a patron of their closest IHLS hub, with one barcode per library. Materials requested by these libraries will be processed by IHLS staff (check-in and check-out) at each of the IHLS hubs.


ILL In-State and ILL Out-of-State Registration

There will be one record for each library in the ILS, owned by IHLS. Libraries should not register ILL libraries themselves, but should contact IHLS designated staff to create a patron record if one is not found.

Adopted 05/2015


Library Card Expiration/Renewal

  • Expired library cards must be renewed at the home library.
  • The registering library will accept full responsibility for maintaining correct information (i.e. contact information) in the patron record.


Patron Record Purging

Purging of expired patron records, or patrons who have left the District or Agency, will be determined by local library for their own patron records.

Adopted 01/2014

Patron Reading History Lists

The use of patron reading history lists will be determined by each individual library.

Adopted 05/2015