January 15, 2015

Long lines for new all-access library pass in New York


Screen shot 2015-01-13 at 9.33.27 PMNew York City is home to three wonderful library systems — the New York Public Library (NYPL), the Brooklyn Public Library (BPL) and the Queens Library (QL). Each system issues its own library card, so technically you’d have to have three to check out books in all boroughs. That is — until now.

On Monday, New York City launched the first ever citywide identification card called IDNYC. The card, which is the result of a bill that Mayor Bill de Blasio signed in July—will allow residents to check out books at all three library systems and get free admission into lots of cultural institutions and museums in New York City.

But most importantly for some New Yorkers, the NYCID will serve as an identification card for “the homeless, youth, the elderly, undocumented immigrants, the formerly incarcerated and others who may have difficulty obtaining other government-issued ID.”

The popularity of the card and the resulting long lines have presented some problems. On Tuesday night, I made the trek to the Brooklyn Public Library to try to apply for a card. I arrived at 6:30pm, which I thought would be plenty of time since the NYCID website lists the BPL as an enrollment center that is open until 9:00pm. Sadly, I was turned away by police offers who had closed the line. Bureaucracy! I’ll try again.


Screen shot 2015-01-13 at 9.33.15 PM

A long line at the Brooklyn Public Library, which is a NYCID enrollment center.

Claire Kelley is the Director of Library and Academic Marketing at Melville House.