Celebrating 10 Years!
NC Cardinal celebrates its tenth anniversary this year! This growing consortium of North Carolina Public Libraries began with a group of public library directors envisioning a library card that could be used throughout the state. In 2011 the first five public library systems joined, using the open-source Evergreen Integrated Library System software for their shared catalog. In 2013, sixteen member libraries began sharing materials, including books, videos, audiobooks, and music. By the end of June 2022, NC Cardinal will serve 48 library systems in 62 counties and 4 municipalities.
Resource sharing provides access to a wealth of new materials for member libraries, with more than 2.7 million items shared among libraries in FY 2021. The average time from request to arrival for check out is less than a week. Access to millions of items across the state allows library systems to make collection development decisions that focus on individual communities and maximize budgets. In addition to resource sharing between libraries, Individual cardholders can also visit other NC Cardinal member libraries to check out materials in person.
NC Cardinal also benefits libraries by creating community among the member institutions. Library staff across the state connect to learn and share through a variety of online and in-person forums. With limited staff in many smaller library systems, the ability to seek advice from peers across the state can be invaluable. NC Cardinal also offers a broad variety of online training and documentation.
Each fall, the State Library accepts applications from libraries interested in joining the consortium the following fiscal year. Applications are due November 1. Libraries pay no fees during their migration year and their first full year of membership. If you are interested in an estimate for your library system, please contact Benjamin Murphy, NC Cardinal Program Manager, at
NC Cardinal is a program of the State Library of North Carolina, supported by grant funds from the Institute of Museum and Library Services under the provisions of the Federal Library Services and Technology Act.