Library cards are free to all City of Longview residents who provide proof of city residency.
The Longview Public Library is a city library supported entirely by city funds. People living outside the city must pay a non-resident fee for check-out privileges. The fee for a non-resident card is a way to ask those users who live outside the city to share in the costs of library service. (Rural Library Mini-District residents are treated as Longview residents during the period the district contracts with the Longview Public Library for services.)
A library card is required to check out all library materials and to obtain materials from other libraries on an inter-library loan basis. Residents wishing to acquire a library card are asked to fill out a short application and provide photo ID and proof of current address.
Acceptable address identification includes but is not limited to a current driver's license, personal checks, official mail postmarked within the last month, a utility bill or rent receipt, or a hunting license.
Please note that we do not issue cards within 15 minutes of the library closing.
Young adults and children under age 18 may use their parent's ID for address verification. The application must be signed by a parent or legal guardian. Children who can print their full names may apply for their own library cards. Applications may be taken home for parents to fill out, but a parent must be present at the time the application is processed.
Note: There is no longer an age restriction for checking out DVDs and videos. Parents who do not wish their children to be able to check these materials out must notify library staff so that a block can be placed on the card.
A Longview Library card offers its holder a wealth of information, recreation, and special services. The Library encourages card holders to value the many opportunities provided by the card and urges all patrons to use the card and the privileges it carries responsibly.
The Cowlitz County Partial-County Rural Library District currently contracts with the Longview Public Library for library service. If you reside in the following precincts you are already paying taxes for library service and are eligible to receive a Longview Public Library card at no additional cost. The precincts that are eligible are Beacon, Coal Creek, Columbia Heights, Industrial Way, Lexington, Lone Oak, Mt. Solo, Nevada, Olson, Scenic, Sparks, Stella, Sunset, and View. Check with the Longview Public Library to see if your address is part of the district.
The Longview and Kelso Public Libraries have a reciprocal borrowing agreement through the end of June, 2020. What that means is that if you have a library card (in good standing) at one library you will be able to go to the other library, present your card, show ID and/or proof of address, fill out a short application, and receive a card from the other library.
For Kelso library card-holders good standing means that the card is active and has a total fine of $5.00 or less. For Longview library card-holders good standing means that the card is active and has a total of $10.00 or less. Each library has different policies such as checkout time, number of items checked-out, for example and borrowers will have to follow the rules of each library for those materials checked out from that library. All items checked out will need to be returned to the library from where they were checked out, i.e. library materials checked out from Longview should be returned to Longview.
If you are a Longview business owner or property owner, but aren't a resident of Longview or the Cowlitz County Partial-County Rural Library District, you can get a Longview Library card at no additional cost. Property owners will need to show proof that they own property in Longview, a piece of current ID, and fill out a short application to get a card issued in their name. Business owners will need to show their current Longview business license, a piece of current ID, and fill out a short application to get a card issued in the name of the business. The library hopes to continue its outreach to small business owners with the resources and materials that they have to help them succeed.
The non-resident fee for the Longview Public Library follows this principle: it is derived from a formula which takes the library budget and divides it by the number of residents of the City of Longview. That per person cost is projected for an average family of 2.4 persons (based on data from the census for the average size of a family in Cowlitz County) to arrive at the non-resident family card fee. When library costs increase, the non-resident fee also increases.
The current cost of a non-resident family library card:
Non-residents also have an opportunity to earn a family card by becoming a Friend of the Longview Public Library and volunteering a certain amount of time for Friends events and projects. Visit the Friends page for more information.
In applying for a card, non-residents must provide the same kind of address ID as residents. They receive their card upon application and payment of the non-resident fee.
America's tax-supported public libraries are unique and the envy of much of the rest of the world. Access to information, education, entertainment, and culture for every citizen as a service of local government is unheard of in most other countries. Even in America it wasn't always this way, and in some parts of the State of Washington it still isn't.
Cowlitz County is one part of the state without government-supported library service. While some local towns and cities within the county have funded libraries for their citizens, the residents of the unincorporated area of Cowlitz County have on several occasions voted down an opportunity to tax themselves for library service. As a result, those non-residents from the unincorporated area of the county who want library service must pay a direct fee (instead of taxes) to the library they use if they wish to check out materials.
While the Longview Public Library belongs to the citizens of Longview, they are willing to share it with others. Anyone may walk in and use the collections, as well as the database and internet computers, phone for information, and ask the staff for help. If, however, a non-resident wishes to borrow materials, the citizen owners require that person to pay a fair share to help support the operation and maintenance of the library.