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The Corvallis-Benton County Public Library, which includes Philomath Community Library among its branches, has joined the statewide Passport program.

That means that those holding local library cards can sign up for a free Passport card at one of hundreds of other libraries statewide and be eligible to check out materials there. Also, those visiting this area can get a Passport card here and have access to materials at libraries in the Corvallis-Benton County system, including the main branch and those in Philomath, Alsea and Monroe.

The Valley Library at Oregon State University is in the network, although a $1 library card fee is imposed there. The passport addition is free.

Ashlee Chavez, Corvallis-Benton County Public Library director, said last week that 44 visitors had signed up for a Passport card since the program was implemented in November.

Chavez said it is hard to obtain a figure from the number of local card holders who have acquired Passport cards elsewhere.

“We can only track users that come into our system,” Chavez said, but she added that “we frequently had requests from our patrons to join the Passport program, so it is our hope that our residents are enjoying being able to use other libraries.”

Key benefits, Chavez said, are “for someone that frequently visits another city either for work or vacation purposes they now have access to another library’s system.”

Chavez also noted that “often neighboring libraries have much smaller holds queues than we do.”

Chavez recalled an anecdote that her library board discussed when the Passport program was being considered. A DVD in the Corvallis system had a waiting list of 46 people, while the same item was on the shelf and available in Albany.

Each library system has its own rules on what materials are part of the Passport program. For example Passport visitors to Corvallis cannot check out devices or equipment such as Maker or STEAM kits, Launchpad tablets or e-books, audiobooks or magazines.

Materials checked out using the Passport program also must be returned to their library of origin.

For further information on the program call 541-766-6448.

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