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Library cards 

Eligibility. People who live, work or attend school in Jefferson County are eligible for a free library card, which entitles them to borrow books and other items and use library services. If you need a new or replacement library card, visit the front desk.

Children's cards. Parents, guardians or grandparents may apply for a children's card for their minor children and teens. Children under 16 must have an adult gurantor with a valid library card who will assume responsiblity for the child's library use. Children over 16 do not require a gurantor, but still require a parent's or guardian's signature. Consistent with state law, library records become private at age 16. However, parents are still responsible for supervising their child's library use until age 18.  

Cooperative. Library cards may be used at any member library of the Wilderness Coast Public Libraries cooperative. These libraries are the Jefferson County Public Library, Wakulla County Public Library, and Franklin County Public Library.

Digital materials. Your library card gives you access to Libby, which has a large collection of downloadable books, audiobooks, publications and streaming video. JCPL is a member of a group of libraries who share access to this platform. When you download or log on to the Libby app, search for the Panhandle Library Access Network. Ask a library staff member for more information about accessing digital media.

Voting rights. When you get a new library card or renew your card, you have the opportunity to register to vote and/or update your voter information. Library staff will assist you with accessing forms.


  • Library cards are not transferable and patrons may not have multiple cards.
  • Patrons may establish eligibility using a government-issued photo ID; student or employee ID; utility bill; or some combination of these that establishes identity and residency.
  • People who work in Jefferson County should provide an ID along with information about where they work, such as an employee ID or business card.
  • If you are outside the service area, you may join the library for a one-time fee of $30.
  • Library cards expire annually. If your card has expired, you can reactivate it by speaking with a staff member and ensuring that your contact information is up-to-date. You may request a free replacement card, but do not have to get one unless your card is damaged or missing.
  • Patrons can borrow a maximum of 50 items at a time, including up to 3 DVDs and 2 Playaway tablets. Some items may have additional restrictions such as limited borrowing periods. 
  • Items cannot be renewed if they are on hold for other patrons.
  • A fine or replacement fee may be assessed for items that are damaged or lost.
Patron conduct 

The public library is a friendly place for Jeffersonians of all ages to enjoy books and literature; participate in civic life; and take part in cultural and educational activities. Any behavior that disrupts the orderly use of the library is prohibited. This includes behavior or activities that interfere with:

  • The normal use of library facilities, grounds, services, and collections;
  • The ability of library employees to conduct library business;
  • The safety of patrons, staff, collections, or facilities; or
  • A peaceful environment suitable for work, study, reading, and similar activities.

In addition, the following policies are in effect:

  • Do not leave children under age 12, or anyone who is not able to care for themselves, unsupervised in the library.
  • Do not block doorways or hallways, or otherwise impede access to the building, including emergency access and access by people using mobility aids.
  • Do not post flyers, public announcements and other bills anywhere but the Community Bulletin Board.
  • Do not bring uncovered drinks or hot food into the library. Dry snacks and covered drinks are permitted as long as they do not damage books or electronics.
  • Do not smoke anywhere on library property, including doorways, grounds and the parking lot.
  • Do not play games, listen to music or videos, use speakerphone or use other audible electronics in the library without headphones.
  • Weapons are not allowed in the library, except as provided for in state and federal law.
  • Adults (18+) who are not supervising a child are not allowed to loiter in children's or teen areas.
  • Pets are not allowed in the library unless they are part of an authorized library program or exhibit. Animal control will be contacted if loose dogs or other animals are on library grounds. This rule does not apply to animals trained to assist someone with a disability.

Along with these policies and standards, Section 26-1 of the Jefferson County Code of Ordinances prohibits disturbances in public buildings. Disturbances include outbursts, confrontations or yelling; violence, threats, profanity, or slurs; illegal activity; any form of harassment; any form of solicitation; treating staff or other patrons in a hostile or offensive manner; refusing to leave the library when requested; or other activities that violate the law, disrupt library use, or endanger the safety of patrons or staff.

Policy enforcement is the responsibility of the library staff on duty.

Children's library use 

The library is a special place for families to visit, and includes many resources and events that are educational and appealing to children. Children and teens are welcome at the library, and there is no minimum age for a library card or program participation. Multiple steps are taken to make sure the library is safe, secure, and welcoming to families.​​

Parents, guardians and caregivers should keep in mind that public libraries have a wide range of resources, serve a number of different patron populations, and offer materials for different age groups and reading levels. The Internet is accessible in the library, and the library also makes online content available to patrons. Parents and guardians should assist their children with material selection, closely supervise their behavior and media use, and talk with them about responsible use of library resources.

JCPL staff are here to support you and your family, help you select resources that meet your needs and interests, and help ensure that children and teens have positive and enriching experiences in the library. If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to speak with a librarian.

Children's library cards.  Parents, grandparents, or legal guardians may check out books for a child on their library cards.  If they prefer, they may apply also apply for a children's card for their child. Parents may make a decision about when their child is ready for their own library card. The following policies apply to children's cards:

  • There is no minimum age for a children's card.
  • Children under 16 must have an adult guarantor (e.g. a parent or guardian with a library account).
  • Teens 16 and up do not need a guarantor, but must still have parental permission.
  • Library privacy laws go into effect at age 16, in accordance with state law (Fl. Stat. 257.261). However, parents are still responsible for minors' behavior, use of the library and borrowed materials until age 18.

Internet access. There is public Wi-Fi in the library, and library computers can access the Internet. In accordance with the federal Children’s Internet Protection Act (CIPA) (Pub. L. 106-554), all library computers and devices are equipped with a technology protection measure to filter and block access to images that are obscene. However, no filtering system is 100% effective, and filters may not block all objectionable content. Parents are solely responsible for their children's use of library technology and resources and should closely supervise their children's use of the Internet.

Unattended children under 12. The library is open to the public, has a wide variety of resources, and serves multiple purposes and populations. Library staff are not licensed or authorized to provide caregiving, assume legal or custodial responsibility for any patron, or act in place of a parent. For these reasons, children under age 12 must have an adult (18+) caregiver with them to supervise and assist with their library use, including program attendance. Unaccompanied children under 12 will be assisted in locating or contacting their caregiver. If the caregiver is not on the premises, a library staff member, first responder, or social worker may wait with the child until they are picked up. 

Unattended children over 12. Children and teens age 12 and up are welcome to visit the library without an adult, as long as they can follow library policies and use the library independently. Unaccompanied children and teens should have an adult's contact information and know what to do in case of an emergency, including an unplanned closure. Children and teens may always use the library's phone to contact a parent if needed. Unaccompanied children and teens must be picked up before closing time. The Water St. Campus is not staffed after closing hours.

The library is not a supervised area. Parents or legal guardians are responsible for the safety and supervision of their children at all times, whether or not they accompany them to the library.

Vulnerable people 

Everyone is welcome at the library, and the library is designed to be accessible to people of all ages and abilities. Staff are available to assist patrons with finding items, using the library, accessing technology, and responding to emergencies. Anyone over age 12 who can understand and follow library policies, use the library safely, and provide for their own needs, may use the library without supervision.

If, in the judgment of library staff on duty, a patron is in an impaired state; needs immediate medical care or assistance; cannot safely use the library independently; or otherwise meets the definition of a vulnerable person under Florida law, they must have an adult (age 18+) guardian, caregiver or support person with them who is able to provide this assistance. The library does not assume legal or custodial responsibility for any patron at any time. Library staff are required by law to report suspicions of abuse or neglect, including inadequate care of a vulnerable person.

If a vulnerable person is left at the library without adequate care, a staff member will help them contact their caregiver or support person. A library staff member, emergency responder, or social worker may wait with the vulnerable person until their caregiver or support person arrives. If a caregiver is not available, the library may contact emergency or social services for assistance.

All visitors should know what to do in case of an emergency closure. Patrons may use the library phone to contact a support person or arrange transportation if needed. All patrons must leave the library at closing time. 

Closures & emergencies 

The library will close for the following reasons:

  • Risks to the safety of patrons or staff.
  • State and federal holidays.
  • Closure of Jefferson County offices or schools.
  • Failure of plumbing, utilities or HVAC systems.
  • Law enforcement request/lockdown.
  • Quarantine or stay-at-home order.

In the event of an unplanned closure, please proceed calmly to the exits. Library staff will assist unaccompanied children and teens with contacting an adult. Staff will also assist anyone who cannot leave the building safely on their own. If necessary, library staff will work with law enforcement and/or other emergency services to establish a safe family reunification area and alternative contact numbers.

During an emergency, the library may offer alternative schedules, alternate locations, or other changes to help patrons meet their civic, information, and entertainment needs. Library facilities and staff may also be needed to assist with relief operations. You can speak with a library staff member or your County Commissioner about the status of the library.

Meeting rooms 

Library meeting rooms  are available on a first-come, first served basis to library patrons. Subject to availability, members of the public are welcome to use meeting rooms for noncommercial activities.

Meeting rooms are limited-use public forums. The views and opinions expressed by individuals or groups using our meeting rooms are solely their own and do not represent the views of the library, its staff, Jefferson County, or the State of Florida.

While the library will work to assist patrons with booking, availability of meeting rooms is not guaranteed. Events may be moved, canceled or rescheduled by the library in the event of policy violations, overcrowding, booking conflicts, emergency closure, library needs, or other exigent circumstances.

Meeting rooms may not be used for any commercial or for-profit purpose, with the exception of merchandise sales made as an incidental part of a cultural event, such as a book signing or musical performance.

Meeting organizers and participants must follow all library policies, including children's use policies, and cannot disrupt the regular use of the library or require unusual duties of library staff.

Library staff cannot assist with event promotion, social media, recruitment or advertising; event setup or takedown; childcare; crowd control or parking; food safety; media relations; legal support; or event security. Events requiring specialized services or exceeding the library's capacity may be asked to find an alternative venue. Library staff are available to assist with library technology and furnishings.

In addition, the following rules are in effect.

  • Rooms must be booked by an adult (18+) who will be physically present for the entire event.
  • The organizer must provide a working phone number.
  • Events cannot exceed the maximum occupancy of meeting rooms.
  • A library staff member must be present in the building during events. Events planned for after normal business hours must be scheduled at least 72 hours in advance to ensure staff availability. 
  • Events that do not begin within 15 minutes of the scheduled time, without contact from participants or organizers, will be assumed canceled. Organizers may contact the library to reschedule their event if needed.
  • If there are 2 consecutive no call/no shows for a regular event (e.g. a weekly meeting), it will be taken off the calendar.
  • Events may not be scheduled more frequently than once a week.
  • Groups may not store supplies or food at the library overnight.
  • Groups may not use the library as a mailing or delivery address; include the library or library logos on official documents, flyers or stationary; or otherwise imply that a group or event is sponsored by the library or Jefferson County.
  • Events involving live animals or otherwise requiring a liability release must be preapproved by the Library Director.

Patrons may bring their own devices and technology into the library, as well as use public access computers. The library's wi-fi network is free and open to the public. 

Accessing the Internet has inherent risks, which the library is not responsible for and cannot control. Information available on the Internet may be false, disturbing or otherwise objectionable, and participating in online activities may have other risks. Patrons are solely responsible for their use of the Internet. All patrons should review Internet safety rules and best practices.

Patrons' use of the Internet is not supervised, and Internet use records are confidential, as provided for in Florida law (Fl. Stat. 257.261). Websites accessed through library networks will have their own privacy polices and rules, which patrons should review before Internet use. The library does not have control over this type of information collection.

Public access computers and other library devices are available on a first come, first served basis. Where necessary, a chronological waiting list will be used.

Patrons may not attempt to alter security settings, device management software, or filters on public computers and devices.

Subject to availability, library staff may assist patrons with connecting to library networks, printing, using library technology, and other basic IT assistance. Library staff may not perform clerical tasks; handle personal information; provide legal or financial guidance (including choosing or recommending legal forms); recommend products or services; format complex documents or websites; provide services in patrons' homes; or program, set up or repair personal devices. Please seek professional assistance if advanced IT support is necessary.

In accordance with the federal Children’s Internet Protection Act (CIPA) (Pub. L. 106-554), all library computers and devices are equipped with a technology protection measure to filter and block access to images that are obscene as defined in section 1460 of title 18, United States Code; or child pornography, as defined in section 2256 of title 18, United States Code; or harmful to minors as defined in section 1703, Pub. L. 106-554. The library may also use filters to protect networks and equipment from malware or other security risks. However, no filter is 100% effective. They may not prevent access to all objectionable material, and some things that are not objectionable may be filtered by accident. Parents or adult guardians are solely responsible for supervising children's use of the library. 


Collection development 

JCPL works with its cooperative, the Wilderness Coast Public Libraries (WILD), to provide a collection of quality books and materials to the public. Items are selected based on a number of criteria, such as:

  • Patron requests.
  • Bestseller lists, preorders, and other indicators of demand.
  • Media coverage.
  • Professional book reviews, such as reviews in Library Journal or Horn Book.
  • Circulation statistics.
  • Local interest (e.g., books about Florida, Jefferson County, or the Big Bend).

Most items in the library are intended for a popular audience. If you need assistance with academic research, please speak with a staff member. We can access academic resources through Interlibrary Loan (ILL).

The library collection is also assessed regularly for quality and frequency of use. Items may be deselected (or discarded) due to damage or infestation, low circulation, lack of shelf space, availability of newer editions, dated content, or to balance a collection that is too large relative to its usage. Items are not selected or deselected based on the item's point of view or the reputation of the author. Discarded items are made available to the public, donated to charity, or appropriately recycled.

Collection development staff welcome your feedback and requests. If an item is not available in the library, or you would like it in a different format, please fill out a request form. The staff will purchase the item or make it available through interlibrary loan. JCPL can request books from public and academic libraries across the United States.

Public libraries provide books, databases and other materials on a wide variety of topics, for a wide variety of borrowers. Items are available so all members of the public can use their First Amendment rights to receive information, participate fully in society, and access multiple points of view. The availability of an item does not reflect the endorsement or recommendation of the library staff, the WILD cooperative, Jefferson County, or the State of Florida. Library staff can assist patrons with finding content that meets their needs and preferences. Patrons who believe an item does not meet selection criteria may request a reconsideration packet at any WILD library.


Registration and circulation records of public libraries are protected by Florida law (Fl. Stat. 257.261). This protection starts at age 16.  These records include your identifying information, information about the items you have borrowed, and the circulation history of items.

It does not include:

  • Anonymized statistical information that is used to help the library qualify for funding or assess services and programs.
  • Information shared with law enforcement or collection agencies for the purpose of recovering overdue items.
  • General information about the collection, such as the number of items in the collection, how many times items have circulated, and information about library technology.

The library does not maintain records beyond what is necessary for library operations. Protected library records may only be disclosed to the person named in the records; in response to a valid court order; when required to recover overdue items; or to a parent, if their child is under 16. You can speak with a staff member if you need help accessing your library account.

Florida's library privacy laws provides exceptions to public records laws. However, not all library records are subject to these laws. Florida's public records laws are generally broad and records of electronic communication, including social media posts, may be retained or accessible according to state and federal law.

For details about how this website collects and uses your information, please review the website privacy policy.

Websites & social media 

The Jefferson County R.J. Bailar Public Library may create websites, social media pages and other forms of digital communication to share information about the library and promote library programs. Library social media pages are limited public forums for the purpose of facilitating the dissemination of information and communication with the public concerning the library. The library may take action to enforce these terms of use, retain public records, and meet other legal requirements. Please be aware that when engaging with the library through the Internet or social media, you agree to adhere to the following terms of use:  

  • Florida has broad public records laws. All postings on websites and social media pages, including personal information, may be public records under Florida public records laws and all information is being preserved by the County.
  • Please keep all comments and discussion on topic and related to the purpose of the page.    
  • The following are expressly prohibited: pornography; graphic or obscene content; content that promotes illegal activity; violations of copyrights and trademarks; content that promotes, fosters or perpetuates discrimination on the basis of race, creed, color, age, religion, gender, marital status, status with regard to public assistance, national origin, physical or mental disability, gender identity or sexual orientation; content that constitutes an imminent threat; and solicitations, advertisements, or other content that is commercial in nature.

Library websites and social media cannot be used to promote events that are not managed, sponsored, or co-sponsored by the library.

Comments on social media are the sole responsibility of the commenter/s and do not necessarily reflect the library's approval, agreement or endorsement. 


Used books. Due to storage and space constraints, the library has a limited ability to accept books or other in-kind donations (donations of objects or goods). The library cannot accept donations of damaged or worn items, items more than 5 years old, multiple boxes or truckloads of books, clothing, electronics, toys, encyclopedias, reference books, tapes, or periodicals. Consider donating gently used items to the Goodwill Bookstore, Wag the Dog thrift store, or Better World Books. You can also check out this article on other charities that accept used books.

Used books in new or like-new condition may be accepted at the discretion of the library director or staff member/s on duty. Donated books become the property of the library and may be added to the collection, donated to charity or appropriately recyled.

Formal donations of new items. If you would like to make a formal donation of books in honor of someone, or if your local group or charity would like to donate or sponsor books, please get in touch to make arrangements.

Little Free Libraries. With the permission of the library or property owner, you may leave used books in readable condition at Little Free Libraries. Please note that JCPL is not responsible for all little libraries in Jefferson County, and people are free to take and leave items at their discretion. The library is not responsible for the contents of Little Free Libraries. If you would like to donate or sponsor a Little Free Library, please contact us.

Fresh & Free Fridge. Donations of food to the Fresh & Free Fridge are welcome. You may bring food to the fridge or leave it at the front desk. Canned food, staples, fresh fruits and vegetables and flowers are welcome. With the exception of homegrown produce, food should be in new, unopened, unexpired containers.

Financial donations. Financial donations can be made to the Friends of the Jefferson County Public Library. If you are interested in donating over $2500, gifting stock or other property, funding a specific program or purchase, or exploring naming opportunities, please call the library at 850-342-0205, or your county commissioner.