In cooperation with the U.S. Department of State, starting Aug. 6, the Levittown Public Library, located at 1 Bluegrass Lane, will begin service as a one-stop passport service center, becoming the first public library in Nassau County to accept passport applications.
“Being able to find time during the work day to get a passport is inconvenient and time consuming,” said Steve Dalton, president of Levittown Public Library Board of Trustees. “Coming to the library is going to be the easiest way to apply for a passport because we offer longer hours, personal appointments and better privacy.”
Not only will the new service be available six days a week, the hours of operation are extended past the hours of all area post offices and the Town Clerk’s office.
“This is a valuable addition to Levittown’s many services, not only for native-born Long Islanders, but also for the ever-growing immigrant population that we serve on Long Island,” said Senator Kemp Hannon.
Congressman Peter King added that “While not a traditional library service, this partnership with the Department of State will allow the culturally curious to explore in person the places that they may have only read about in a book or allow a senior citizen to visit that family member she has not seen in decades.”
With no long lines to wait on, residents can simply call 516-731-5728, ext. 502, to set up a personal appointment to come in and review the application one-on-one with a member of the library staff.
“Libraries have long been a passport to knowledge, giving patrons the ability to visit far off places, to learn about medical or technological advances or to solve that great mystery, all by simply flipping pages,” said Dalton. “Next week, libraries will be the passport for people to actually go to those places, experience those adventures, and come home filled with a better sense of our interconnected world.”
The service is open to all New York State residents. Fees are fixed by the U.S. Department of State and can be found on the library website. Applications must include proof of citizenship, proof of identity and be accompanied by a passport photo. Applicants can have a photo taken at the library if needed.
For more information, call 516-731-5728 or visit www.levittownpl.org.
In other library news, an opinion piece that appeared in Forbes last week evoked strong public outcry in defense of libraries and has also presented Town of Hempstead Receiver of Taxes Don Clavin, other local officials and public library administrators with an opportunity to highlight the many programs and services offered at these centers of education, culture and socialization.
The opinion piece, “Amazon Should Replace Libraries to Save Taxpayers Money,” claimed that libraries don’t provide the same value to the public that they once did. It further contended that libraries have been largely replaced by Wi-Fi at Starbucks, Amazon Prime, Netflix and other private for-profit resources. Clavin and library officials called the opinion piece ill-conceived, evidencing a lack of appreciation for the depth and breadth of services, programs, activities and other resources that are provided by local libraries.
They also observed that libraries serve as a uniquely vital link to educational services, afterschool activities and other programs for residents of economically disadvantaged communities where many lack computer and Internet access. Clavin, Town Clerk Sylvia Cabana and Councilman Anthony D’Esposito, spoke out against the piece and to call upon the public to visit their local libraries, explore and learn.
“This is a great opportunity to remind the public of all of the things that our local libraries offer area residents,” said Clavin. “The opinion piece that was written by an economist missed the mark on so many important facts and facets when it comes to the offerings of local libraries. My office has presented hundreds of taxpayer seminars at area libraries, many children get their first introduction to socialization and the joys of reading at libraries, and neighbors attend educational programs, art exhibits and more. Perhaps most important, many children in economically disadvantaged communities are afforded access to afterschool resources, the Internet and computers that they might not otherwise enjoy.”
The officials pointed out a host of programs that are offered at local libraries. Many facilities offer a vast collection of reading and research materials from novels and reference volumes to “how-to” guides, biographies, historical records and classical literature. Online access and video rentals complement a robust network of library resources such as hard-to-find and rare documents. Art exhibits, lectures, performances, movies and classes abound at the library.
Additionally, the town and libraries offer educational lecture seminars, programs on how to reduce your taxes, lifesaving lectures on how to administer Narcan to opioid overdose victims, as well as bilingual reading programs to area communities.
What’s more, in addition to an enormous collection of books, magazines, newspapers and other publications, many libraries offer a wide array of e-books to borrow for Kindles and tablets. Library cards also offer access to a variety of databases, some of which are used for scholarly and ancestry research, as well as educational tools for children that are available both at the library and from your home computer, laptop or tablet. Most libraries also offer free Wi-Fi, as well as computer and printing stations.
Libraries also boast a giant selection of DVDs and Blu-ray discs for recent and classic movies, as well as music albums and audio books. Library cards also provide patrons with access to free passes, by availability, to a long list of museums and attractions, including the Long Island Children’s Museum, the Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum, the Guggenheim Museum and even a free day at the beach with an Empire Pass.
“You just can’t put a price tag on the priceless offerings that you can only find at your public library,” concluded Clavin. “What’s more, there is no other place where people can find the enormous array of educational, cultural and social offerings under one roof except for our public libraries. And, our libraries serve as a lifeline for many economically disadvantaged residents when it comes to computer resources, afterschool activities and a host of programs. I encourage our residents to rediscover their public libraries today.”