New York State Library
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New York State Library Borrower's Card

Individuals qualifying for one of the following user categories may apply for a NYSL Borrower's Card or a New York State Resident Borrower's Card.  A NYSL Borrower's Card or NYS Resident Borrower's Card allows individuals to borrow books and other materials, as well as, access online journals, online newspapers and other online resources 24/7 from work or home.


Attorneys who are New York State residents and are admitted to practice in New York State are eligible to receive a NYS Library Attorney Borrower's Card. These borrower's cards begin with a "P" number.

With a NYS Library Borrower's Card you can:

  • borrow materials from the State Library's 20 million item collection
  • request materials in person, over the telephone (518-473-5676), via fax (518-474-5279), via email at nyslcirc@nysed.gov or through Excelsior, the NYSL online catalog
  • pick up materials on-site at the Circulation Desk or request that items be mailed to your office (See Pick up and Delivery Options for more information.)
  • remotely access, from work or home, the Library's collection of online databases and millions of magazine, journal and newspaper articles available in over 20,000 full-text online journals and newspapers

Attorneys must complete a NYSL Attorney Borrower's Card applicationPDF file (45 KB) and present personal photo-identification that includes their home address (such as a current NYS driver license or current photo-identification issued by the NYS Department of Motor Vehicles) AND verify their status as an attorney by presenting one of the following:

  • Attorney Registration Number
  • listing as an attorney in a current legal directory
  • NYS Bar card

Photocopies or scans are acceptable when mailing, faxing or e-mailing your proof of status.

NYSL Attorney Borrower's cards must be renewed every two years.

A NYSL Attorney Borrower's Card can also be issued to a law firm.  The NYSL Attorney Borrower's Card for a law firm card must be signed by one of the principals of the firm and someone in the office must be designated as the office contact.  (The office contact could be a librarian, paralegal, office manager, etc.)


Municipal historians who are appointed by NYS city, town, village or county governments are eligible to receive a NYS Library Historian Borrower's Card.  These borrower's cards begin with a "P" number.

With a NYS Library Borrower's Card you can:

  • borrow materials from the State Library's 20 million item collection
  • request materials in person, over the telephone (518-473-5676), via fax (518-474-5279), via email to nyslcirc@nysed.gov , or online through Excelsior, the NYSL online catalog
  • pick up materials on-site at the Circulation Desk or request that items be mailed to your office (See Pick up and Delivery Options for more information.)
  • remotely access, from work or home, the Library's collection of online databases and millions of magazine, journal and newspaper articles available in over 20,000 full-text online journals and newspapers 

Municipal historians must complete a NYSL Historian Borrower's Card applicationPDF file (45 KB) and must present personal photo-identification (such as a current NYS driver license or current photo-identification issued by the NYS Department of Motor Vehicles) AND verify their status as a duly appointed municipal historian by presenting one of the following:

  • photo-identification from the place of employment identifying you as the municipal historian
  • letter from the local appointing authority confirming you currently hold the position of historian for that county, city, town or village

Photocopies or scans are acceptable when mailing, faxing or e-mailing your proof of status.

A NYSL Borrower's Card is issued for individual use and is non-transferable. Please do not share your NYSL Borrower's Card number or PIN with others.

NYSL Historian Borrower's Cards must be renewed every two years.


New York State Government (State Agency, Legislative and Judicial) employees are eligible to receive a NYS Library State Government Employee Borrower's Card. These borrower's cards begin with a "P" number.

With a NYS Library Borrower's Card you can:

  • borrow materials from the State Library's 20 million item collection
  • request materials in person, over the telephone (518-474-5355), via fax (518-474-5279), via email at nyslcirc@nysed.gov or through Excelsior, the NYSL online catalog
  • pick up materials on-site at the Circulation Desk or request that items be sent to your office (See Pick up and Delivery Options for more information.)
  • remotely access, from work or home, the Library's collection of online databases and millions of magazine, journal and newspaper articles available in over 20,000 full-text online journals and newspapers
  • submit Interlibrary Loan requests for items not owned by the State Library in person at the Reference Desk, over the phone (518-474-5355), via email or online via ILLiad

NYS government employees must complete a NYSL State Government Employee Borrower's Card applicationPDF file (44 KB) and must verify their status as a NY state government employee by presenting one of the following:

  • current NY State Government (State Agency, Legislative or Judicial) photo-identification card that includes an expiration date
  • recent NY State Government paycheck stub AND a current State Agency, Legislative or Judicial photo-identification card
  • recent NY State Government paycheck AND current NYS driver license, or current photo-identification card issued by the NYS Department of Motor Vehicles.

You can white out the salary information on the pay stub if you'd like. Photocopies are acceptable when mailing, faxing or e-mailing your proof of status.

A NYSL Borrower's Card is issued for individual use and is non-transferable. Please do not share your NYSL Borrower's Card number or PIN with others.

NYSL Government Employee Borrower's Cards must be renewed every two years.


All New York State residents, 18 years and older, are eligible to receive a NYS Resident Borrower's Card from the New York State Library.  NYS Resident Borrower's Card numbers begin with an "R".

With a NYS Resident Borrower's Card you can:

  • borrow up to 10 items at a time on-site from the State Library's 20 million item collection
  • request materials in person, over the telephone (518-474-5355), via fax (518-474-5279), via email to nyslcirc@nysed.gov or through Excelsior, the NYSL online catalog
  • remotely access, from work or home, the Library's collection of NOVELNY online databases and thousands of magazine, journal and newspaper articles available in over 5,400 full-text NOVELNY online journals and newspapers. 

This program gives New York State residents, who are not eligible under other NYSL Borrower categories, on-site borrowing privileges; books and other materials will not be mailed to individuals under this program.  The NYS Resident Borrower's Card does not provide individuals with free photocopies or interlibrary loan privileges.

Applicants must complete a NYSL NYS Resident Borrower's Card applicationPDF file (43 KB) and present one of the following forms of personal identification:

  • a current New York State driver license
  • a current photo-identification card issued by the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles
  • other current photo-identification card that contains the individual's name and current home address
  • other current photo-identification card that contains the individual's name and a recent piece of official mail (such as a utility or telephone bill) that shows the individual's name and current home address. 

New York State residents listing a post office box as a mailing address must also provide their resident address. A college dormitory is not considered a resident home address. Proof that a resident is 18 years or older may be required.

Photocopies or scans are acceptable when mailing, faxing or e-mailing your proof of residency or personal identification.

A NYSL Borrower's Card is issued for individual use and is non-transferable.  Please do not share your NYSL Borrower's Card number or PIN with others.

NYS Resident Borrower's Cards must be renewed every two years.


Licensed Physicians ("M.D." and "D.O.") who are residents of New York State are eligible to receive a NYS Library Physician Borrower's Card. These borrower's cards begin with a "P" number.

With a NYS Library Borrower's Card you can:

  • borrow materials from the State Library's 20 million item collection
  • request materials in person, over the telephone (518-474-5355), via fax (518-474-5279), via email at nyslcirc@nysed.gov or through Excelsior, the NYSL online catalog
  • pick up materials on-site at the Circulation Desk or request that items be mailed to your office (See Pick up and Delivery Options for more information.)
  • remotely access, from work or home, the Library's collection of online databases and millions of magazine, journal and newspaper articles available in over 20,000 full-text online journals and newspapers

Physicians must complete a NYSL Physician Borrower's Card applicationPDF file (45 KB) and present personal photo-identification that includes their home address (such as a current NYS driver license or current photo-identification card issued by the NYS Department of Motor Vehicles) AND verify their status as a physician by presenting one of the following:

  • Physician License Number
  • photo-identification card from their place of employment that identifies the individual as a physician
  • listing in a current medical directory
  • membership card from the American Medical Association or the Medical Society of the State of New York

Photocopies or scans are acceptable when mailing, faxing or e-mailing your proof of status.

NYSL Physician Borrower's cards must be renewed every two years.

A NYSL Physician Borrower's Card can also be issued to a physician's practice or group.  A NYSL Physician Borrower's Card for a practice or group must be signed by one of the partners of the practice and someone in the office must be designated as the office contact. (The office contact could be a librarian, physician's assistant, nurse, office manager, etc.)


Retired New York State Government employees are eligible to receive a NYS Library Retired State Government Employee Borrower's Card. These borrower's cards begin with a "P" number.

With a NYS Library Borrower's Card you can:

  • borrow materials on-site from the State Library's 20 million item collection
  • request materials in person, over the telephone (518-474-5355), via fax (518-474-5279), via email at nyslcirc@nysed.gov or through Excelsior, the NYSL online catalog
  • remotely access, from work or home, the Library's collection of online databases and millions of magazine, journal and newspaper articles available in over 20,000 full-text online journals and newspapers

Retired NYS government employees must complete a NYSL Retired Government Employee Borrower's Card applicationPDF file (43 KB) and provide personal photo-identification (such as a NYS driver license or current photo-identification card issued by the NYS Department of Motor Vehicles).  In addition, applicants must verify their status as a retired New York State Government employee by providing a letter from the NYS Agency that they retired from attesting to their valid retirement from a unit of NYS government.

Photocopies or scans are acceptable when mailing, faxing or e-mailing your proof of status.

A NYSL Borrower's Card is issued for individual use and is non-transferable.  Please do not share your NYSL Borrower's Card number or PIN with others.

NYSL Retired NYS Government Employee Borrower's Cards must be renewed every two years.

 

NYSL Borrower's Card applications are now available online.  Click on the appropriate borrower category listed above.  A link to the related NYSL Borrower's Card application can be found under the image of the Borrower's Card.

Individuals can also request a New York State Library Borrower's Card application or a New York State Resident Borrower's Card application one of the following ways:

  • at the Circulation Desk located on the 7th floor of the New York State Library
  • over the phone by calling the Circulation Desk at (518) 473-7895
  • by sending an email to nyslcirc@nysed.gov

Please specify the type of NYSL Borrower's card that you are applying for.

A NYSL Borrower's card is issued for individual use and is non-transferable.  Please do not share your NYSL Borrower's card number or PIN with others.

All other individuals can borrow circulating materials from the New York State Library via Interlibrary Loan through their local public, school, special or college/university library.  Members of the public are welcome to use the Library's collections on-site.

Last Updated: September 10, 2021