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Enhanced Library Card

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Enhanced Library Card

San Antonio Public Library

Advocacy & Awareness | 2021 | Top Innovator

Innovation Synopsis

The San Antonio Public Library worked with local advocacy organizations to develop the Enhanced Library Card (ELC). The ELC is available at four SAPL locations. It is a San Antonio Public Library Card that has a person’s name, picture and other personal information printed on it.


Advocacy groups including the Immigrant Legal Resource Center and SA Stands in San Antonio approached SAPL about filling a gap for certain people who lack access to a document that can help verify their identify. Formerly incarcerated people, foreign nationals living in the United States, individuals without housing, some in the LQBTQIA community and others can struggle to secure a document that helps verify who they are.

Key Elements of Innovation

The ELC is free a document with the patron’s name and picture that may possibly be used as a supplement with other documents to prove a person’s identity. Patrons are required to check with organizations and entities with which they would like to use the ELC as part of establishing their identity to confirm if and to what extent the ELC can be used for this purpose. The San Antonio Police Department, for example, accepts the ELC as a form of photo identification for purposes of public safety.

Achieved Outcomes

The greatest impact of the ELC is the support it offers to individuals who may have a difficult time verifying their identify. Living without a means of being able to prove identify can lead to challenges with police, government, utility companies or even at the grocery store. The ELC is a tool available to people in these situations to help them navigate a world dependent on verifying one’s identity. Cardholders also benefit from all of the resources of their public library system as SAPL users.