[Michlib-l] Repsonses to Passport Question

Shauna Swantek sswantek at putnamlib.org
Fri Oct 21 14:42:03 EDT 2016

Thanks to all who responded.

Original query:


Are there any libraries providing this service currently?
If so, I'd love to hear about your experience.

What size library are you?
How many passports do you issue?
Is the staff time worth the $25 in revenue generated?


I used to oversee the Passport Acceptance Facility at Sacramento Public Library's Central Library, and while I don't have access to the numbers anymore (we accepted appointments and drop-ins and were always busy), we weren't making a profit when staff time was factored in.  It was, however, a fabulous service we provided to our community.  Please feel free to call me for more details.


Rebecca Higgerson


Brandon Twp Public Library

Ortonville MI 48462


Michigan State University Libraries provides the passport service. You can find the information at http://www.lib.msu.edu/passport/

For details, you can contact Terri Miller, our AD for Public Services (ticklet at mail.lib.msu.edu<mailto:ticklet at mail.lib.msu.edu>) and Jill Thornton (thornton at msu.edu<mailto:thornton at msu.edu>) our Head of Hollander MakerCentral unit.

Ranti Junus, Systems Librarian
Michigan State University Libraries

The Roseville Public Library in Macomb County was one of the first libraries in Michigan accepting passports.  We offered this service for approximately five years before the recession when we had to lay off employees.

These are my words of advice if you choose to offer this service:

Appointment vs. walk-in - Since only three of our employees were trained to accept passports, we offered the service on an appointment basis to make sure that an employee would be available.  Although we publicized this well, many people did not read the information carefully and  just showed up.  If were were unable to accommodate them, we had very unhappy people.  Will you allow this service whenever the library is open or by appointment only?

Staff time - Many people applying for passports at our library had issues that required them to bring in different or additional documentation (for instance they had a birth "record" when a birth certificate was required or a grandparent had custody but did not bring in the court order for custody or their photos were did not meet agency requirements).  Initially preparing people, explaining unusual circumstances and making new appointments took a great deal of time.  Honestly, I did not think it was worth the $25 per passport fee that we received.  You have to weigh whether you are doing this for additional revenue (not a good idea in my opinion) or as a service to your residents (this is a good idea).

Additional fees - expediting and sending passports overnight means additional postage and paperwork and additional staff time.  9 x 13 envelopes cost money as do requests to photocopy documents.  Even basic, first-class postage is also an additional fee.   Do you pass all of these additional fees on to the public which will decrease the $25 fee?

Roseville is a medium-sized library and we accepted passports for people all over metro-detroit because we offered evening hours.  If your library is bigger or better staffed than our library, this could be a very nice service to offer your residents.  Please don't construe my comments as negative, just things to think about before you offer the service.

I hope this helps.

Jacalynn Harvey


Roseville Public Library

Roseville, MI  48066



Additionally, Diana at Peter White Public Library in Marquette is the facility manager and was helpful to chat with by phone.  They do 200-300 a year there...for seniors, college students and families.  1-906-228-9510

Shauna Lea Swantek, Director

Putnam District Library
Honoring the Past, Serving Today, Preparing For Tomorrow

327 North Main Street
PO Box 920
Nashville, MI 49073-9578
Phone & Fax: (517)852-9723

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