I’ve always had the impression that public library cards were given out like candy to local residents. I believe that, depending on jurisdiction, you may be able to get a library card in a jurisdiction that you don’t live in if you work there, go to school there, or if the jurisdictions have a library agreement permitting cross-usage.
I was reading this thread, where the OP mentions that, in some jurisdictions, convicted felons may not be able to obtain library cards. What conditions can you actually be denied a library card for? When I got mine, I didn’t need to submit a police clearance letter or really anything else except ID and an assertion that I was a local resident. Do libraries commonly do background checks behind your back and cancel your card if they don’t like what they see? Are there any public libraries or public library systems that require that a full background check be completed before you get a card? Do any have policies that specify exactly what conditions (e.g. criminal convictions) cause ineligibility, and to what extent they can be overcome for the purpose of getting a library card? Are there any libraries that require that potential users pass a literacy test, or submit school transcripts?
Librarian: “I see you have a felony conviction from five years ago and that is normally a disqualifier, but I also see you had a 3.7 high school GPA, and that is sufficient to overcome the disqualification. Here’s your card.”
Librarian: “I see that you are a high school dropout and your GPA when you dropped out was 1.9. You will need to take a reading test before you will be allowed to check out materials.”