Tuesday, 25 February, 2020


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IDs and Airplanes @ your Library

By John Nalan

Reference Librarian

People in Minnesota never, ever procrastinate.

With this in mind, I was a little surprised to read yesterday that 3.7 million people in Minnesota have driver’s licenses or IDs that have “NOT FOR FEDERAL IDENTIFICATION” written across them in bold letters. That is the federal government’s way of being just a little passive aggressive. Normally, as a proud Minnesotan, I would not let myself be intimidated by such a threat. “NOT FOR FEDERAL IDENTIFICATION”, indeed. Well, I think to myself, I will not use it for federal identification then. Procrastination complete.

However, it turns out they have us over a barrel. You see, the federal government wrote a law that says each of us cannot board an airplane without a federal identification. The law goes into effect this coming October.

That is pretty serious. The truth is that almost all of us need to be prepared to take an airplane flight at a moment’s notice. It might not be pleasant to think about, but we are all one accident or medical emergency away from having to get on an airplane. Of course, we are also one winning lottery ticket from getting on an airplane. Whether the surprise trip is for ourselves, a dear friend, or a loved one, the words “NOT FOR FEDERAL IDENTIFICATION” could result in a major hassle.

Or in Minnesota this coming October, 3.7 million major hassles.

If you do not have a Federal Identification, there are two places in Grand Rapids where you can get one. The DMV or here at your Library. At the DMV, you can get a Real ID or an Enhanced ID. Either one will get you on an airplane. At the Grand Rapids Library, you can apply for a passport. A passport is a Federal ID, so if you have one, it does not matter if your driver’s license says “NOT FOR FEDERAL IDENTIFICATION” or not. You will be able to fly with your passport.

The DMV is usually the least costly choice for people. A passport can be expensive. I have been told that for some people, a passport requires less paperwork. If that is the case for you, it might be easier to go the passport route. Personally, I got the Real ID at the DMV because it was the least expensive and easiest option for me.

A traditional passport book starts at $110 for adults and can run over $200 with just a few bells and whistles added. There is a cheaper passport option that will allow you to get on an airplane flight within the United States this October. It is the passport card. The passport card is a federal ID that only costs $65 for new applicants and $30 for people who already have a passport, plus the additional cost of passport photos. The passport card does not allow you to fly to other countries. That means it will not get you as far as a passport book can, but it will get you on a domestic airline flight. Both the traditional passport book and the passport card are good for ten years. If you already have a passport book, you are not required to get a card. It is just a convenience. That is because it might be easier to travel with a passport card than it is with an old-fashioned passport book.

Procrastination. Have I mentioned anything about Minnesotans and procrastination?

The thought of 3.7 million people in line ahead of you at the DMV between now and October should have been enough to scare you already. However, if you are sticking to the Minnesota procrastination routine as tightly as I normally would, I have one more place to make an appeal. Your wallet. You can avoid an additional $60 charge for your passport by acting early. That is because normally a passport takes about six to eight weeks to arrive at your door after you apply. There are ways to get a passport faster, but they are more expensive. At least $60 more expensive.

So get out your driver’s license and take a look. If it says “NOT FOR FEDERAL IDENTIFICATION”, you have some choices to make before October. You can upgrade your license or apply for a passport at our Library. Just do not procrastinate.

Coming Up @ your Library

February 3, Book Time9:30 or 10:30, Join us in the Story Circle for books, songs, finger plays, flannel board stories, and all other sorts of fun. Then move to the Community Room for a snack, a craft, and a time to play and visit.

February 4, Recycle, Repurpose and Restyle 6:00 p.m., Downsize your “stuff” as you collect ideas for recycling household textiles and vintage linens. Turn tablecloths, t-shirts, and thrift shop treasures into contemporary heirlooms and accessories. Learn laundering and whitening tips and how, with basic sewing skills or fabric glue, to create special gifts. For young to mature adults.

February 6, Passport to Europe 6:00 p.m., Take a photo-journey through 14 European countries with Mary Shideler. After she and a friend learned the results of their DNA tests, they knew they wanted to visit the lands their grandparents hailed from. Traveling by ferry, plane, train, tram, and car - they visited parts of Scandinavia, the Baltics, Belarus, Czech Republic, Italy, Croatia, Slovenia, Austria, and more.

February 8, Saturday Story Time 10:15 or 11:15, Join us in the Story Circle for books and songs. Then move to the Community Room for a snack, a craft, and time to play and visit. Families may earn one Baby Steps coupon for attending Story Time.