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NYC libraries will help New Yorkers register to vote

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All 216 of the city’s library branches will have voter registration drives on September 25

NYPL’s main branch on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan.
Max Touhey

Tuesday, September 25 is National Voter Registration Day, and New York’s library system—made up of the New York Public Library, Brooklyn Public Library, and Queens Library branches—is getting in the spirit by holding registration drives at every single branch in the five boroughs.

The initiative, which is being undertaken in collaboration with the NYC Campaign Finance Board, will hit all 216 library buildings during each branch’s open hours. (You can find NYPL locations and hours here; BPL locations and hours here; and Queens locations and hours here.) And while those wishing to register don’t need a library card to do so, they’ll be encouraged to sign up for one on-site. (Given all of the things you can do with a library card—take out books, get free passes to museums, research archival materials, and more—it’s something every New Yorker should have.)

Some branches will also have displays and events themed around civic engagement and voting—the Spuyten Duyvil branch, for example, will show the film Selma, about the 1965 civil rights marches that helped galvanize the passage of the Voting Rights Act, at noon.

“Our mission from the beginning has been to make opportunity and knowledge accessible to all, so regardless of circumstance or background, everyone can engage with and contribute to our society,” Anthony Marx, the president of the NYPL, said in a press release. “Voting is a fundamental way that members of the public can participate, so it is a natural extension of our mission to bring voter registration directly into people’s neighborhood branches, which are trusted, heavily-used community resources.”

In order to register, New Yorkers must be a U.S. citizen, a resident of the city for at least 30 days, and 18 years of age. The library drive is a good chance for first-time voters and those who need to change their registration to do so; all of the necessary information and paperwork will be available at each library branch.

“[P]roviding people with the means to participate fully in our democracy aligns perfectly with our mission to transform lives and build strong communities,” Queens Library president Dennis Walcott said in a statement. Hear, hear.