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Patron Account Information

General Policies

  • Library patrons must have a valid library card to check out materials [1999.05, 2010.09]. Library card barcodes may also be scanned from handheld devices [2014.05]. (See: Scanning Barcodes from Mobile Devices) If a patron does not have their library card with them when they present materials to be checked out, they may present an approved form of identification to staff so that they may look up the patron account. Care should be taken to ensure the correct account is used for check out [2021.12].
  • Applicants for a card must complete and sign an application form, available at any PINES participating library’s circulation desk. Alternatively, applicants may fill out an online application form prior to visiting the library to present their identification and complete their application [2014.05]. As of September 2021, the online application form will automatically generate an e-card so that applicants can begin accessing online materials immediately. Those patrons must then visit the library in order to upgrade to a full PINES card.
  • Patron account information is confidential and cannot be used for purposes other than PINES transactions. (See: Confidentiality)
  • Patrons who are unable to visit the library due to physical disability may complete and sign an application form that may be mailed to the patron from his/her participating library or printed from the PINES application form. The applicant will make copies of his/her identification to be attached to the application form. The identification and application should be mailed to the local participating library. The participating PINES library will process the application and send a library card and any other materials typically shared with new patrons by mail to the patron. Copies of patron's identification documents will be shredded after the new card is issued [2019.05]. Note: As per PINES Executive Committee discussion while approving this policy, the library will create a normal Patron account (not Homebound or GLS).


  • Library cards are free to all residents of Georgia. Persons who attend school, own property or are employed full-time in Georgia are eligible for a free PINES card. Patrons of both PINES and non-participating Georgia public libraries may receive a PINES card. Users from non-participating Georgia libraries shall have the same privileges as PINES users. Most PINES cards are valid for 2 years [1999.05].
  • Property owners who do not reside in Georgia are required to show proof of Georgia property ownership, such as a tax bill or deed. Non-Georgia residents who are employed in Georgia or attending school in Georgia are required to show proof of that employment or enrollment.
  • Out-of-state cards are available to persons living outside Georgia who do not meet the above criteria for a $25 annual fee, payable at the time the card is issued. A temporary card is available for a $12.50 fee and is valid for 6 months.


  • Signing a PINES card application denotes acceptance of responsibility for all fines and fees for lost or damaged materials.
  • There is no minimum age for a child to receive a PINES card. A parent or legal guardian may register a child [1999.05]. Parent or legal guardian must show proper ID to register a child. A parent or legal guardian must sign the application for all children under 18. Signing a child’s PINES card application denotes acceptance of responsibility for all fines, lost or damaged materials.

Acceptable Forms of ID

An applicant for a new card is required to provide proper ID, which includes current, local address. Acceptable ID for receiving a PINES card (3 choices):

  1. Photo ID which shows the applicant's current local address, OR
  2. Photo ID which does not include current local address plus one item from the list of acceptable address verification documents, OR
  3. TWO (2) items from the list of acceptable address verification documents.

Acceptable Photo ID:

  • Valid driver’s license
  • Valid passport
  • Valid US Military ID
  • Valid matricula consular
  • Valid Georgia Weapons Carry License

Acceptable Address Verification Documents (must show applicant's name and current address):

  • Valid Georgia voter registration card
  • Recent utility bill (e.g., gas, electric, cable, internet, water/sewer, waste management)
  • Recent tax receipt or other piece of mail that shows the user’s name and present address
  • Recent pay stub
  • Current lease/rental agreement
  • County tax assessor records
  • Official base assignment documentation (for current military and family members)

If applicant resides out of state, but works, goes to school, or owns property in Georgia, then applicant must show supporting documentation in order to obtain a “Patron” card at no charge (as opposed to an “Out of State” card which incurs a fee).

Original documents are required with the exception of utility bills: because many people now pay their utility bills online and no longer receive them on paper, patrons may present their online bill or statement on their mobile device or printed from their utility’s web site [2015.12].

The registering library is responsible for ensuring that a correct address is obtained [2005.08].

Historical Notes:

  • Matricular consular was added [2004.08]
  • Social Security Numbers are not used in PINES [2006.11]
  • Lists were updated to include passports, military ID, weapons carry license, pay stubs, lease/rental agreements, and county tax assessor documents. The decision was made to remove checks with pre-printed addresses [2022.05]

Record Retention Policies

The legal department of the Board of Regents has indicated that public libraries are not mandated to follow the USG data retention schedule for “Courtesy Borrowers Records” (a.k.a library patron applications) [2014.09 BOR communication to the PINES Program Director]. Each library system should develop its own record retention policies in accordance with the Secretary of State policy for voter registration. Whether that information is recorded electronically or on paper forms is determined by each library system.

More information can be found by searching the Secretary of State’s Website.

circ/accounts.txt · Last modified: 2023/09/22 16:21 by smorrison