Get a Library Card

How to get a Library Card:

1)   Where do you live? 

A.   If you live in the City of St. Joseph, or in St. Joseph Charter Township -- You will need an ID and proof of address. 

Michigan Compiled Law (MCL) 397.206 states that the library is for the “use of inhabitants where located.”  Further, MCL 397.214 states that a library “may enter into a contract with another township, city, or village to permit the residents of that other township, city, or village the full use of the library and reading room, upon terms and conditions to be agreed upon between the library board of directors and the legislative body of the other township, city, or village.”  In keeping with the intent of Michigan Complied Law regarding libraries, a person may apply for a library card with the Library as a resident user if the user lives in, owns residential property in, or owns a boat slip in the City or Township of St. Joseph.  Each user must apply for his/her own library card. 

A free library card is issued to a resident user upon the completion of a registration card and the establishment of residency with written documentation of the user’s current address.  The individual making the request must provide adequate proof of ownership of a residence or boat slip.  Acceptable forms of identification include a Michigan Drivers license, Michigan Registration card, or Social Security Card together with proof of residence.  The card is valid for 2 years and may be renewed for additional 2 year periods.


B.     If you live in another city in Berrien County -- You must first get your library card from your home library.   Also, your home library must have a reciprocal borrowing agreement with us.    

Not sure where? 

List of participating reciprocal libraries, or give us a call and we'll help you figure it out.  

Reciprocal Borrowing Agreements
The Maud Preston Palenske Library has reciprocal borrowing agreements with some other libraries in Berrien County.  Residents from other townships, cities, or villages who have a valid library card from their home library may be eligible for reciprocal borrowing privileges if a reciprocal borrowing agreement is in place with their home library.  Individuals applying for reciprocal borrowing privileges must comply with Maud Preston Palenske Library’s policies and procedures, the terms of the reciprocal borrowing agreement, and must provide a photo id and proof of current address.  Borrowing privileges are valid for 2 years and may be renewed for additional 2 year periods.


C.   If you live outside of Berrien County, or in a municipality that does not have an agreement with us:   You can purchase a fee card.

Fee cards
Fee cards may be purchased by persons who do not live, own residential property, or own a boat slip in St. Joseph or St. Joseph Charter Township, by persons who are not served by a library that has a reciprocal borrowing agreement with Maud Preston Palenske Library, or by persons from another state or country.  Immediate family members living at the same address as the card holder are also eligible to receive cards at no additional cost. A fee card is good for one year, for a cost of $100.   Fee cards may also be purchased for three months ($25), six months ($50), or nine months ($75). Individuals applying for a fee card must comply with Maud Preston Palenske Library’s policies and procedures and must provide a photo id and proof of current address.


2)  Bring in Identification and Proof of Address (and your home library card, if required)

Library staff will either issue you a card, or attach our barcode sticker to the back of your home library card.   



All Library card holders, including reciprocal borrowing card holders, are responsible for all loss of or damage to materials signed out on their library cards.

A parent or guardian must sign the registration card for a minor younger than age 16, accepting responsibility for the minor’s use of the library and any loss or damage to library materials, although the minor may sign the actual library card.

All outstanding fines and obligations to the Library must be paid before a library card may be renewed.