Choose Your Library Card Design

All 9 library card designs, including the classic, SJ Sharks, 49ers, and design contest cards.

Limited Edition

Layla, the Last Black Unicorn frolicking through the forest. Text: San José Public Library.

Layla, the Last Black Unicorn

On August 5, 2023, New York Times bestselling author, and award-winning actress and comedian, Tiffany Haddish, visited the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Library's Children’s Room to present a special storytime featuring her picture book, Layla, the Last Black Unicorn. To commemorate this special event, SJPL produced a limited edition library card featuring an illustration from her book.

*Only available at the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Library.

Tiffany's design, Siempre East Side. Includes migrant workers, farmland, monarch butterflies, fruit trees, smoke stacks, and what appears to be a church or mission. A blue lowrider with the top down drives off into the sunset on a highway with palm trees on either side.

Siempre East Side by Tiffany Dang

Starting July 1, 2022, this design will be released in honor of the California Room exhibit East Side Dreams: The Untold Story of East San José. This design was chosen as the winner from the 14 and over category of the East Side Dreams Library Card Contest.

Local Sports Teams

Library card image: San Jose Shark biting a hockey on a San Jose Sharks teal background

San Jose Sharks

SJPL is proud to partner with SJ Sharks to present the first-ever Sharks library card. The first design was a limited-edition card that included the Sharks’ Stealth color scheme and theme, and was made available starting February 4, 2019. On Saturday, October 15, 2022, SJPL and SJ Sharks released a new library card design, which includes the Sharks official logo with teal background. The new design has been permanently added to the menu of SJPL cards.

Red, white, black, and gold SF 49ers logo over a red background with faint 49ers past logos. Text: San Jose Public Library.

San Francisco 49ers

SJPL and the San Francisco 49ers are excited to introduce the first-ever 49er library card. This card was made available to the public starting Tuesday, August 27, 2019. The card was designed to include the 49ers and SJPL’s official logos with a 49ers theme background.
San Jose Shark mascot crunching a hockey stick while emerging out of a black motherboard background. Text: San Jose Public Library.

San Jose Sharks (2019)

SJPL was proud to partner with SJ Sharks to present the first-ever Sharks library card. This limited edition card was designed to include the Sharks’ Stealth color scheme and theme. The card was made available starting February 4, 2019.

Library Card Contest Designs

The following six designs were selected among hundreds of creative and diverse designs in the 2016 Library Card Design Contest. Discover what inspired each card designer's artwork in their own words:

Library card design with cartoonish-looking shark gets hooked on reading Huckleberry Finn

Hooked by Victoria L.

When I was brainstorming a design for the library card contest, I wanted to make sure that whatever I came up with would be fun and interesting for library-goers of all ages and backgrounds. I felt like a happy, reading shark would be a great representation of San Jose and its libraries, while remaining easily recognizable to the cardholder whether they were 8 or 80. Plus, who doesn't love a good pun?
Library card design with San José Public Library written in Braille

Untitled by Jeffrey B.

The main intent of my library card design was to bring awareness and dedication to people with special needs, especially those who are blind or visually impaired. After being diagnosed with holes in my retina, it made me realize how much I take for granted my ability to create visually pleasing art/designs for the world to see and have a better appreciation for my sight. The composition and color draws inspiration from the clean, sunny, urban environment of San Jose with subtle hints of technology.

The main aspiration of entering the contest was to demonstrate to my two children to do good things for people and this world no matter how big or small…to always make a positive difference. That said, the prize will be donated to Santa Clara Valley Blind Center.
Library card design with a line illustration of a robot reading

Don’t Stop Reading Like a Robot by Iris L.

My inspiration for the design is to convey the advancement of technology in the Silicon Valley through a robot and the foundation of literacy through letters of the alphabet. Literacy and technology are interconnected; without literacy to empower intellectual learning, we would not be able to produce innovative technology like the sophisticated robot.
Library card design with a line drawing of a young woman reading a book. The young woman's brain looks like a green processor chip.

Processor by Annika L.

For my artwork, I drew on San Jose's advanced, technology-prevalent society to form a coherent and stylized piece with elements of modern circuitry. However, I wanted the look of a page from DaVinci's notebook to capture the ageless, human desire for knowledge and information.
Library card design with illustration of two people on the staring up at the stars while they sit on a spherical plot of green earth that is hatching from the pages of an open book floating on water.

Book of Magic by Katelyn H.

Whenever I read a book, it feels like I'm introduced to a new world of imagination and I can tell exactly what's going on just by reading the words on the pages. I'm presented to a large set of characters that each book announces to the reader, and the author lets the reader get slightly emotionally-attached to the character; like it is an actual person. I chose to draw my piece the way I did because of my love of reading and how amazing the world of reading is.
Library card design with illustration of young person lying in the grass with a cat while they gaze up at the night sky full of aliens, rocketships planets, stars, and a constellation that says READ!

Reading Under the Stars by Iris M.

This piece was inspired by how I feel when I read because when I’m reading I feel like I’m somewhere magical. So I thought what’s more magical than reading under the stars? Especially with a cat.
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Library classic card with icon of open book with sunshine beaming out of it.

Classic Design

The Classic card was created to celebrate the collaboration between San José Public Library and San José State University. It became available when the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Library opened in 2003.