AUSTIN (KXAN) — The Austin Public Library launched a pilot program for Enhanced Library Cards (ELC), which will feature the cardholder’s photograph that are accepted as a valid form of identification by many local agencies and organizations, according to a news release from the City of Austin.

Furthermore, the ELC will serve as a new card option for library users who also might benefit from another form of photo identification, the release said.

The ELC is a full-access library card for Austin residents 18 or older, which includes the holder’s library card number, photograph, address, date of birth, the expiration date and a scannable barcode, according to the city.

The card can be used the same as a standard library card to check out materials at all APL locations, as well as online to access eBooks and other digital resources, the release said. The card is also recognized by many other city departments and local organizations as a valid form of identification or as a supplement with other documents to prove a person’s identity, the city said.

“We are very excited to be able to provide the community with this resource,” said Austin Public Library Director Roosevelt Weeks. “Libraries exist to lift barriers, and we know there are many in our community who have difficulty accessing certain services because of difficulty obtaining identification or who would otherwise simply benefit from having another form of ID. We are grateful to our colleagues in other city departments and our partners in other organizations who have worked with us in order to help lift that barrier with the Enhanced Library Card.”

Other Texas library systems, like San Antonio, San Marcos, Harris County and Dallas, have established similar ELC programs over the last few years, the release said.

In July 2022, the Austin Library Commission passed a recommendation calling on the city to establish an ELC program, the release said. Austin City Council Member Vanessa Fuentes introduced a budget amendment for the current fiscal year dedicating $12,000 for equipment to establish the pilot program, the release said.

As of May 1, APL obtained confirmation from city departments, including Austin Police Department, Austin Energy and Austin Public Health, as well as more than a dozen community organizations that will accept the ELC as a valid form of identification, the release said.

During the initial pilot program, ELC will be available at the three APL locations below:

  • Little Walnut Creek Branch, 835 W. Rundberg Ln
  • St. John Branch, 7500 Blessing Ave.
  • Southeast Branch, 5803 Nuckols Crossing Rd.

Check here for a full list of city departments and local organizations currently accepting ELCs as a form identification on the APL website.