A library card is required to borrow most library materials and to place holds for those materials. When you get a library card you also get a library account you can use to log into a variety of resources, including the library catalog, research databases, streaming and downloadable books and media, and more.

How to apply for a library card online

Residents of Massachusetts may apply for a card online. Online applicants will receive a temporary Forbes Library card by email.

You can use your card number as soon as you receive it. The process is not automated so please allow a few days for staff to process your request.

Children under 12

Library Card Application for Children Under 12. A parent or legal guardian must fill out this form.

Adults and Teens

Register for an eCard. An eCard allows access to electronic materials including ebooks, audiobooks, magazines, and databases and can be upgraded to a physical card at the library. If you are 12 or older and not a Smith College student you should use this form.

Smith College students

Library Card Application for Smith College students.

How to apply for a library card in person

You will need:

  • A photo ID
  • Proof of address

Young Adults (Ages 12-17) can also apply with a parent or legal guardian who has proof of address.


Most Massachusetts residents, including students, may get a free library card1.

If you do not have a residence in Massachusetts you may buy a card for an annual fee of $35.

Educators who work in Northampton may also be eligible for a Teacher Card.

Library cards from other libraries

Forbes Library accepts cards from any CW MARS member library. A Forbes Library card is only needed for some online resources such as Mango Languages.

Renewing expired accounts

Library accounts expire periodically to allow us to verify current information. If your account has been expired for more than four years it may be deleted. Renew your account.

Replacement cards

The first replacement for a lost card is free. Additional replacements cost $1.

For help contact the Circulation Department, 413-587-1011 ext2 or circulation@forbeslibrary.org.


Any resident of a Massachusetts community which is certified by the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners is entitled to a free library card.