Go To Search
Stay Connected
Circulation Services

CIR-1 Library cards for Montana residents
Any resident of Montana is eligible for a free Billings Public Library card by applying in person at the Library with acceptable photo identification and proof of address. Current cardholders, who have no outstanding overdue materials or accrued charges, may receive all services provided by the Library.

Photo identification and documentation of residency within the Library's service area is required to obtain a Library card, and a birth date must be provided on the application, for statistical purposes and to distinguish among persons with the same name. Acceptable forms of identification when applying in person at the Library include the following:

  • Unexpired Montana driver’s license or Montana ID with current street address
  • Checkbook with current address
  • Valid fishing license with current address
  • Valid hunting license with current address
  • Current tax statement
  • Utility bill with current address dated within last three months
  • Valid vehicle registration with current address
  • Recently postmarked item of mail delivered to current address marked on item in ink or in other permanent method
  • Unexpired Montana voter registration card showing current street address

When applying for a card using an online or mail-in application, identification including a photograph must be presented at the service desk before the account will be valid for use. The library card will be mailed to the address on the application, verifying residence.
Those Montana residents living outside of Yellowstone County or who do not have proof of a permanent address in Yellowstone County are eligible for a Montana Resident card with acceptable photo identification and proof of current address.

  • In Yellowstone County, addresses may include those of temporary residential facilities and post office boxes. Applicants must produce a piece of mail received within the prior two weeks for immediate privileges. Borrowers in this category are limited to checking out two items at a time.
  • Outside of Yellowstone County, applicants must provide proof of current street address.

This card will permit cardholders to check out ten items at a time, reserve five items at a time and use the Library's computers. The card will be valid for one year.

Students not resident in Yellowstone County, but registered at schools and colleges within Yellowstone County, are eligible for service, upon presentation of proof of current registration and acceptable identification of current address.

Employees of the City of Billings and of Yellowstone County, but not resident in Yellowstone County, are eligible for service, upon presentation of proof of current employment by the City or County and acceptable identification of current address.

The initial card will be a ‘new patron’ card, valid for 28 days only. No more than six items may be checked out at a time on the ‘new patron’ card. At the time of an in-person application at the Library, the new patron will be asked to self-address a post card, which the Library will mail to the patron to confirm the address; the patron must turn in the card when received to establish a permanent patron status.

The parent or legal guardian of a minor may provide identification establishing residency in the Library’s service area and sign the application form certifying that the minor resides at that address. A minor’s relative or caregiver may provide identification for a Montana Resident card.

Cardholders will be charged a $1.00 fee for replacement of a lost library card. Every library patron is responsible for immediately reporting to the Library when his or her library card is lost or stolen and also responsible for charges on it until the Library is notified that it has been lost or stolen.

Upon presentation to the Library of a copy of a police report which documents that a card has been reported stolen, the Library will limit the liability of the patron for any charges accrued to the card after the theft of the card but before it is reported to the Library according to the following schedule.

  • Theft report presented to the Library within 15 days of charges being assessed to card: No more than $50
  • Theft report presented to the Library within 30 days of charges being assessed to card: No more than $100
  • Theft report present to the Library more than 30 days after charges are assessed to card: No limitation; full charges apply.

CIR 1.1 Computer and Internet Access Library Card
Some Library users may wish only to be permitted to sign in to computers and the Internet and do not require any ability to check materials out of the Library. For those persons, the Library will provide a Computer Use Only Card upon provision of photo identification. The card will be valid for one year.

CIR-2 Library cards for out of state residents
Nonresidents of Montana may obtain a Billings Public Library card with photo identification and proof of address and payment of an annual fee of $75.00, or a quarterly fee of $20.00. Nonresident cards will be valid for the period issued and will entitle cardholders to all of the services provided to Billings and Yellowstone County cardholders.

CIR-3 Loan periods and loan limits
Current cardholders, including those with non-resident cards, may check out books, selected magazines, compact discs, audiobooks, and pamphlet materials for a period of 28 days. Selected new adult fiction and nonfiction will be checked out for 14 days. Selected DVDs will be checked out for 7 days. All other DVDs will be checked out for 14 days. Loan periods for Outreach services are set in relation to stops.

Downloaded electronic content will be available for the period indicated by terms of licenses granted by content providers.

Books and audiovisual materials may be returned to the Circulation desk or bookdrops at the downtown Library or Community Library, the Bookmobile, or Senior Homebound Outreach staff.

Current issues and other selected magazines, newspapers, Reference books (those whose call number begins with R, JR or YR), telephone books, Genealogy Room materials and Montana Room materials do not circulate.

Cardholders whose accounts show that they have lost or overdue items outstanding or accrued fines of $5.00 or greater will not be permitted to check out Library materials.

Permanent patrons may have up to 10 audiobooks or music CDs checked out at a time and up to 50 total items in all formats checked out at a time.

CIR-4 Renewals
Circulating materials may be renewed for up to two additional periods equal to the original loan period as long as no holds are waiting for those items.

CIR-5 Holds
Library cardholders may have no more than 10 holds at any one time, including any hold items waiting on the hold shelf for pickup.

CIR-6 Claims returned/never had
In the event that a patron asserts that a lost item was returned, but it still appears on the patron’s record, Library staff will search for the item for 90 days, during which time the patron should also look for it. If the item is not located after the 90 days, the patron will be billed for the amount of the item plus the processing fee. If the item is found after the patron has paid for it, the Library will refund the amount paid, less the processing fee, to the patron.

CIR-7 Lost or damaged materials
The Library charges for lost library materials and library materials damaged through neglect, or requiring cleaning before its next use. For lost materials or those damaged beyond repair, the total charge will consist of the replacement cost of the material and a processing fee intended to cover restocking costs. For materials requiring repair and/or cleaning, the charge will consist of the costs incurred in repairing or cleaning the item.

In the event a patron returns a book or other item thought to be lost within one year of paying for it, the retail price of the material will be credited to the patron. The processing fee will not. Identifiers from damaged library materials will be retained by the library to be withdrawn from the collection and the damaged item will be retained by the patron if they want it. Patrons will be charged for lost/damaged interlibrary loan materials based on the charge assessed by the lending library. Additional fees may be assessed to recover costs of collection.

CIR-8 Fines and fees
The Library charges a fine of $0.25 per day the Library is open for overdue library materials, with a ceiling of $5.00 per loan period or the list price of the item, whichever is less, except as noted hereafter. The fines for interlibrary-loaned materials will be $0.50 per day the Library is open, with a ceiling of $10.00. The fines for “Easy Reader” books (those with a call number beginning with an E) will be $0.10 per day the Library is open, with a ceiling of $5.00 per item per loan period. No overdue fines will be charged on magazines or uncataloged paperback books.

Borrowers with fines totaling $5.00 or less may check out materials one time, but must clear their charges before being permitted further checkouts.

Other charges may apply as indicated elsewhere in this manual.

Recognizing that some patrons may have difficulty paying overdue fines, the Library makes available the opportunity for a patron to arrange to work off overdue fines at the rate of the current minimum wage. This must be arranged by appointment with the designated staff.