Library to unveil Passport Services office

 

The Dover Public Library is anticipating opening its Passport Services office in mid-April. (Delaware State News/Mike Finney)

DOVER — The Dover Public Library is preparing to add some convenience when it comes to people getting ready to travel outside of the country.

Kirby Hudson, the assistant city manager, said the library is looking to open its new Passport Services office next week, joining the Dover Post Office as the only places in the city where passport services are offered.

“We’re expecting to be pretty popular (at the library),” Mr. Hudson said, at the Dover City Council meeting on March 27. “I don’t know the last time anybody has been over to the post office, but where the individuals have to go to get their passports’ pictures taken is kind of in front of a ripped screen.

“I think once this (passport office) gets up, everybody in the world is going to want to come here. It’s just a nice, cleaner, more professional look. I hope I’m not giving any disparaging remarks to the post office, but it does look rather seedy.”

The new Passport Services location at the library will be to the immediate left when a visitor enters the facility from the back parking lot.

“We have fantastic news that the Friends of the Dover Library have graciously decided they are going to actually build and construct the new (passport) office,” Mr. Hudson said. “The whole scheme will be red, white and blue to signify the United States and the passport office.

“The Friends of the Dover Library are paying for this in full so there’s no money coming out of the library or the city coffers.”

Mr. Hudson added that the city has already selected and hired two veterans who are going to serve as the library’s passport officers in part-time positions. They finished their training at the end of last week.

The library’s Passport Services office is expected to open next week in a makeshift office on the second floor.

“The (permanent) structure, we’re anticipating, will be done by the end of April. So we’re really only looking at about a two-week gap from upstairs to downstairs,” said Mr. Hudson.

Margie Cyr, the library’s director, said the addition of Passport Services would be more about convenience and less about bringing in money.

The library has proposed that the income from Passport Services be used to pay the agents and for supplies and equipment (camera, paper, envelopes, postage, etc.). Any income earned above those costs would be split 75 percent to the library and 25 percent to the city’s general fund.

The library hopes to use its share of such funding to increase its book, e-book and the audiovisual budgets, which Ms. Cyr said have been decreasing in recent years while costs and demands have increased.

“For us, it’s more about providing a service to the community,” Ms. Cyr said. “As a library we are very much a community-service facility and it’s our responsibility to provide the services that people of our community need.”

Delaware State News staff writer Mike Finney can be reached at mfinney@newszap.com.

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