The Free Library of Philadelphia is the 14th largest library in the United States and for almost ten years they have offered a paid library card system, where non-residents can pay $50 per year and borrow auadiobooks and ebooks online. This is similar to the Orange County Library System, Fairfax, Free Library of Philadelphia and many others. In an email to people who paid for a library card for the Free Library of Philadelphia, the library stated that they are abandoning the program and will only focus on local residents going forward.
Here is the email that was sent to paid library card holders.
In order to focus its efforts and resources on customers in its direct service area, the Free Library will no longer offer paid-access cards.
Your paid-access card will remain valid and usable for the duration of the term for which you paid. At the end of that term, you will no longer be able to access the Free Library’s resources, and you will be unable to renew your card for a further term.
This is a serious blow to people who live outside of the US or in a different state. Fear not, there are still a few libraries that continue to offer a paid program. The Brooklyn Public Library charges $50 per year, Orange County Library charges $125 per year, Maryland, Enoch Pratt Free Library also charges $50, New York, Monroe County Library System charges $25, Charlotte Mecklenburg Library charges $45, Houston Public Library charges $40 and Fairfax County Public Library charges $27 per year.
If you live outside of the United States the only library to provide people with a library card is the Orange County Library System that charges $125 per year.
Michael Kozlowski is the Editor in Chief of Good e-Reader. He has been writing about audiobooks and e-readers for the past ten years. His articles have been picked up by major and local news sources and websites such as the CBC, CNET, Engadget, Huffington Post and the New York Times.