TexShare Card Information for Librarians

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Why Should My Library Offer TexShare Cards to Our Patrons?

TexShare cards provide your library patrons with the privilege to visit more than 500 libraries and branches throughout the State of Texas and check out materials.  The goal of the TexShare Program is to improve library service to Texans by making each library’s materials available to the greatest number of users.

How Can I Find Out More About the TexShare Card Program?

We have an archived webinar explaining the program and how libraries issue cards, accept cards from visitors, and report statistics. Recording coming soon!

How Do I Sign Up My Library for the TexShare Card Program?

  1. Read the TexShare Card Program Participation Agreement.
  2. Submit the Participation Agreement form. This form must be completed by the library director. Complete the necessary information, sign it, then scan and email it to TexShare@tsl.texas.gov. Alternately, you may fax it to 512-252-9386, or mail it to:

       Texas State Library and Archives Commission
       PO Box 12927
       Austin, TX 78711-2927
  3. Be sure to include the name of one or more TexShare Card contacts on the Participation Agreement. Each library may have one primary contact and one or more alternate contacts. Only designated contacts will be able to order supplies and make changes to TexShare Card Lending Policies. Designated contacts may be updated during the TexShare Annual Report or at any time by emailing texshare@tsl.texas.gov.
  4. After your Participation Agreement is reviewed and accepted, TexShare will contact you about setting up a Lending Policy. Your application will not be complete until we have a Lending Policy on file. See "What Should I Include in My Library’s TexShare Card Lending Policy" or this Public Library Lending Policy Example for more information.

How Soon Can I Begin Issuing TexShare Cards?

On receipt of the signed Participation Agreement form and Lending Policy, TexShare will send you an initial shipment of TexShare Cards and informational brochures.  There is no charge for these materials. You may begin issuing cards as soon as you receive your stock of them. Additional cards and brochures are available upon request.

What Should I Include in My Library’s TexShare Card Lending Policy?

We recommend that you keep the policy as simple as possible. You should add links to supplemental information on your library website, such as library hours, rather than including that information directly in your lending policy.

You need to include the name and email of a person who can be contacted at your library for patrons or other libraries who have questions about TexShare Cards. We recommend that the email used be a generic library email (e.g., circulation@yourlibrary.org) rather than the direct email for a person.

Please consider the following points as well:

  • We hope the privileges extended to visiting TexShare Card holders will be as close as possible to the privileges for your own local patrons.
  • You may vary your policies for different borrower-types (Staff, Faculty, Graduate Student, Undergraduate Student, or Public Library patron are some borrower types that might be indicated on the “borrower type” line on the TexShare card.) You may also have a separate policy for youth  borrowers. These differences must be included in your official Lending Policy. Because libraries use different ages to define youth borrowers, the definition of “youth” for lending purposes is determined by the lending library.
  • You may place a restriction on the number of items a TexShare borrower, or any type of TexShare borrower, may check out at a time.

How Do I Update My Library's Lending Policy?

Contact TexShare at texshare@tsl.texas.gov and send the fully updated text of any sections requiring revision. Please note that it may take some time for revisions to appear on the Find-A-Library page.

See the section above for more information about what you should include in the policy.

To which of my library patrons should I issue a TexShare Card?

  • The applicant for a TexShare Card must be a registered patron or staff member at your library.
  • Do not issue Cards to patrons with outstanding fines or fees. You may refuse to issue a TexShare Card to a borrower who has unpaid fines and charges at your library.
  • You may require an applicant for a TexShare Card to be in good standing at your library and to have demonstrated compliance your existing borrowing policies. For example, you may impose a waiting period between a person’s initial registration as a borrower at your library and issuance of a TexShare card to give that person an opportunity to establish a good record with your library.
  • The TexShare Card is designed as a service to offer your patrons, not as a card to be distributed automatically to all registered users.

Do TexShare Cards Expire?

  • Each TexShare Card must include an expiration date, which cannot exceed one year from the date of issuance, however, it may be for a shorter period. Whenever possible, we recommend that TexShare Cards remain active for a minimum of six months.
  • Your library is responsible for the use of the Card by the TexShare borrower until the expiration date listed on the card.
  • Note that TexShare Cards do not renew. Each time you issue a Card to a patron it is counted as a new Card.

How Do I Issue a TexShare Card?

Once you have determined that a patron is eligible for a TexShare Card, a staff member at your library is responsible for filling out the Card. TexShare Cards should be typed or neatly printed in permanent ink. If you make a mistake, do not correct it; instead, use a fresh Card, as libraries should not accept Cards that are not filled out correctly.

Include the name of the patron, the name of your library, the patron type (e.g., student, faculty, youth, or patron), the expiration date of the Card, and the name of the staff member who issued the Card.  On the reverse, have the patron sign the Card, accepting his or her responsibilities. Be aware that your library is not required to issue Cards to patrons who are under 18 years of age; if you do, the patron's parent or legal guardian should counter-sign the Card.

Be sure to make a record that you have issued a Card to the patron and the expiration date of the Card.

How Do I Check Out Materials to a Visiting Patron with a TexShare Card issued by another library?

Visiting patrons with TexShare Cards issued by other libraries should also present a photo ID (driver's license, Texas ID, college ID, etc). You may request proof of the patron's current address. Check the expiration date on the paper TexShare Card and that the patron has signed the back. Note that the patron's address may not correspond to the library that issued the TexShare Card because some libraries issue cards to patrons outside their normal residential boundaries. If you have any questions about the validity of the TexShare Card, please contact the library that issued it, or contact the Texas State Library and Archives Commission at texshare@tsl.texas.gov.

If the TexShare Card is valid, most libraries will then either 1) issue the patron one of their own library cards with a TexShare borrower designation; or 2) validate the TexShare card with a barcode and enter information on the user into the computer.

If the patron's card is illegible, is not typed or neatly printed in ink, has cross-outs or corrections, is not signed, or has expired, you should not check materials out to the patron. You may contact the home library for more information and to explain why you were unable to honor the Card.

How do I keep up with program announcements and information?

All TexShare Card Contacts are encouraged to subscribe to the TexShare-Card email list. TexShare staff use this list to post program announcements, and participating libraries use it to communicate with each other about issues and changes. Contact the Texas State Library and Archives Commission at texshare@tsl.texas.gov for information about subscribing to this list.

What TexShare Card Usage Statistics Must I Report?

The card program requires that you keep the statistics identified in the Card Agreement. Participating libraries must report these statistics annually to the State Library via an online form.  TexShare follows the State Library’s fiscal year (Sept. – Aug.). The exact dates of the survey will be announced on the TexShare Card email list. The questions listed on the survey are:

  • How many TexShare Cards did you give out to your library's patrons so that they could use other libraries?
  • How many visitors from other libraries used their TexShare cards to register for borrowing privileges at your library?
  • How many items did you circulate to TexShare visitors from other libraries?
  • How many items did your library lose to TexShare visitors who did not return them to you?
  • What was the total dollar value of the materials you lost to TexShare visitors from other libraries?
  • For the items that your library lost to TexShare visitors who did not return them, how many were paid for by the visitors' home libraries?
  • What is the total amount you received from other libraries in payment for materials you lost to TexShare visitors?
  • How much did you have to pay to other libraries because your patrons used the TexShare Card to check out materials that they did not return?

Libraries will also be asked to verify the names of their designated Card contacts and to confirm that they have reviewed their Lending Policy for accuracy.

What if a Visiting TexShare Card Patron Damages or Does Not Return Materials to My Library?

Contact the TexShare Card Program contact at the patron’s home library. A Card contact directory is available; please check the TexShare Card email list for a link to the directory, or contact texshare@tsl.texas.gov. Provide the following information: patron's name, ID number, items overdue, cost of items, and date due.

Advise the liaison of the home library as soon as the patron returns the books or pays for them. If the item is not returned or paid for after six months, your library may bill the library that issued the Card for the cost of the book. Requested reimbursement may cover the cost of lost or damaged materials, but not any associated fines.

What if I Don’t Receive Payment for Lost or Damaged Items?

It is rare that a participating library will experience an uncompensated loss.  If you have not received payment for a lost or damaged item from the visiting patron or from the home library, follow these steps:

  • Verify with TexShare that the person listed as the Card Program liaison is correct and the contact information is current. It is common for a library to change personnel and not update their Card Program Lending Policy. Sometimes new staff are unfamiliar with TexShare and unaware of outstanding bills. TexShare staff can assist you with finding the best person to contact.
  • Contact the Card Program liaison once more, explaining that you have not received payment for the item. Include the details of the item and the dates and details of your prior correspondence on the matter.
  • Follow up with a telephone contact to the Card Program liaison.
  • Contact the library’s director or other appropriate administrative personnel, if your continued efforts to resolve the issue with the card program liaison are unsuccessful. You may wish to copy TexShare on this message.
  • As a last resort, notify the home library that you will not honor any NEW TexShare Cards from that library pending resolution of the outstanding bill.

What If a TexShare Library Reports That One of My Patrons Has Not Returned a Book?

Notify your patron of the items overdue, cost of the items, and date due. Suspend borrowing privileges for the patron until the situation is resolved either through return of the items or payment for them. The lending library will notify you if the items are returned or payment is received. If the items still have not been returned or paid for after six months, your library must pay the lending library for the lost items and may pursue collection from the borrower.

What if I Need to Revoke One of My Patron’s TexShare Card privileges?

Most TexShare card holders use their TexShare cards responsibly. However, if it does become necessary to revoke a TexShare Card, you should inform other participating libraries so they do not check materials out to that user.  Please post a notice to the TexShare Card email list. TexShare Card contacts and alternate contacts are automatically subscribed to this list. In the message, include the patron’s name, the name of the home library, the Card number and ID, the effective date of the revocation, and the expiration date on the card.

How Do I Withdraw My Library from the TexShare Card Program?

The TexShare Card Program benefits your library patrons by allowing them to directly borrow materials from other participating libraries throughout the state, gaining direct access to library materials not owned by their home library. The TexShare Card expands the world of information for school students and adult learners alike. Please consider carefully the advantages to your patrons of participation in the TexShare Card Program before deciding to discontinue this service.

If you have determined that you must withdraw from the TexShare Card Program, please contact texshare@tsl.texas.gov for the Notice to Withdraw form. The withdrawal process requires that you:

  • Honor the borrowing privileges you have extended to TexShare Card holders up through the expiration date of their cards.
  • Be responsible for your patrons’ borrowed materials checked out on or before the expiration date on the TexShare cards issued by your library and continue to work with your patrons to ensure that outstanding borrowed items are returned in good condition to the lending library.
  • Allow a minimum of two weeks for the TexShare office to process your request for withdrawal.
Page last modified: November 29, 2023