The Prettiest Library Cards (As Seen in the #RiotGrams Challenge)

I like finding beauty in the bureaucratic. It reminds me that, even when governments, corporations, or organizations are frustrating, there’s a person behind them. Somebody had to design that terrible form or select the clip art on that odd sign. Whatever, I’m weird. I also like envelope security patterns (seriously, they are so pretty). Libraries, of course, aren’t soulless bureaucracies on par with the DMV… but they are often big and sometimes unwieldy. So, it was with much delight that I scrolled through the pictures of library cards submitted by folks doing the #RiotGrams Challenge. Here are just a few of my favorites. Where possible, I included a link to the page that features all of a given library system’s card designs.

 Sure, the design here is pretty simple but I love the sentiment. Well played, Edmonton Public Library.

Category ID: 914
Category ID: 4284

I think we can all agree that this stylized depiction of the Los Angeles Central Library more than does justice to its beautiful Art Deco building.

 I’m jealous of this keepsake library card issued by the folks Cuyahoga County Public Library. I also love that one of the designs they offer is a “reconnect with reading” card. Too wonderful.

A photo posted by Rachel M. (@rachelmanwill) on

How much do you love the Roy Lichtenstein-inspired design used on the Boise Public Library‘s cards?

I also asked Book Riot’s contributors, some of whom are not on Instagram or Litsy, for their pretty library cards. Did you know that in Pima, Arizona the library cards have adorable, fluffy little desert animals on them?! Many thanks to Jessica Pryde for sharing this picture. Look at those bunnies!

Pima County Library Cards

Finally, Danika Ellis shared all the designs available at her library in Victoria, BC. She has the blue one on the bottom, simple though it is, and has grown attached to the simplicity over the years.

The #Riotgrams challenge for public library may have passed, but it’s never too late to shout out your library’s design. Share a picture of your library card in the comments or using the #Riotgrams tag on Instagram and Litsy.