Austin Public Library has initiated a pilot program for enhanced library cards that can double as photo identification.

The enhanced library card is a full-access card for Austin residents who are 18 or older that includes the holder's library card number, photograph, address, date of birth, the expiration date of the card and a scannable barcode, officials said in a press release May 2. The card can be used as a standard library card to check out materials in-person and online, in addition to being recognized by many city of Austin departments and local organizations as a valid form of identification, or supplement with other documents to prove one's identity.

“We are very excited to be able to provide the community with this resource,” Austin Public Library Director Roosevelt Weeks said in a released statement. “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.”

The Austin Library Commission passed a recommendation in July calling on the city to establish an enhanced library card program. From there, APL staff began working with the city and local organizations to ensure the cards met their requirements to secure broad community recognition of the enhanced library card as a valid form of identification.

During the initial pilot program, the enhanced library cards will only be available at three APL locations, including Little Walnut Creek, 835 W. Runderberg Lane; St. John, 7500 Blessing Ave.; and Southeast, 5803 Nuckols Crossing Road.

A full list of city departments and local organizations that accept the enhanced library card as a valid form of identification can be found at