In recognition of National Library Card Sign-Up Month in September, Fort Bend County Libraries has launched of an online application for traditional, full-service library cards.

Full-service library cards give users access to physical materials (books, CDs, DVDs, etc) as well as digital resources that are accessible through the FBCL website (e-books, online Homework Help, and many research databases).

Mobile WiFi hotspots are also available for check out to Fort Bend County residents with this library card.

Since the library buildings have not re-opened to the public yet, FBCL started the Books & More! Curbside Pick-Up service in May so that patrons would still be able to check out books and other items.

Library users with valid library cards were able to continue checking out books despite the closures and social distancing resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Stay Home/Stay Safe order, which encouraged everyone to remain home and isolate to prevent the spread of COVID-19, found many people at home without a library card, or with expired library cards, and unable to access the books, movies, or online resources that FBCL provides.

Students without FBCL library cards could not access the online Brainfuse Homework Help or research databases.

In response to the overwhelming demand that FBCL received for access to library cards, library administrators initiated an online application for an alternative FBCL e-Card in May.

The e-Card would at least give the public access to digital materials and resources through the FBCL website, if not physical items.

Historically, library users could only apply for library cards in person at one of the locations in the Fort Bend County library system because applicants were required to show a government-issued photo ID and proof of residency.

Since the libraries have remained closed longer than anticipated, library administrators began the process of developing an online application that would allow users to apply for a traditional, full-service library card, giving patrons access to physical materials as well as many digital resources.

Utilizing the Books & More Curbside Pick-Up service and the new online application, FBCL is now able to process applications for full-service library cards.

After completing the online form for a library card, applicants are notified by library staff when their card is ready for pick-up.

The applicant is then directed to a designated area of the libraries’ parking lots, where they are able to present the required identification and receive their library card.

Library users are still able to choose between the two card options – full-service cards or e-Cards – based on how they wish to use library resources.

The e-Card is limited to Fort Bend County residents, while the full-service library card is available for any Texas resident.

It is also possible to convert a previously issued e-Card into a full-service library card by using the same online application.

There is no charge for FBCL library cards, and access to all FBCL books, digital materials, and online resources is free. Mobile WiFi hotspots are available for check out to Fort Bend County residents with a full-service library card only.

The online library-card application is located on FBCL’s website under the “How do I…” tab.

For more information, see Fort Bend County Libraries’ website (www.fortbend.lib.tx.us) or call the library system’s Communications Office at 281-633-4734.

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