Archived Story

Regional library handling passports

Published 5:54pm Monday, September 9, 2013

The Horseshoe Bend Regional Library in Dadeville will be the place to go for prospective world travelers Tuesday, as the library takes over the handling of passport applications in Tallapoosa County.
County residents can apply for their passports Tuesday-Thursday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The library is located at 207 N. West St. in Dadeville.
Horseshoe Bend Regional Librarian Susie Anderson said library employees took an online training course in the procedures necessary to accept applications, which they will then forward to the U.S. Department of State’s Passport Agency office in New Orleans.
“We’re just making sure the paperwork is in order,” she said.
Passport applications have long been handled at the Tallapoosa County Probate Offices in Dadeville and Alexander City, according to Probate Judge Leon Archer.
He said the change came from a 2012 rules change “regarding vulnerabilities present in the passport application process,” according to an email from the New Orleans office. The concern, according to the email, is that opportunities for “malfeasance and passport fraud have been discovered” with offices that accept passports and also process or issue birth records or identification documents in the same location.
“I’m not happy about it, and I’ve voiced my opposition to it,” Archer said. “I think for some people it’s going to be a little bit of an inconvenience. You’d think the courthouse would be secure enough.”
Archer said the probate office would have been required to provide separate office space and personnel to handle passport applications to comply with the new rules.
The process was already in motion when he took over the office earlier this year, he said, and his attempts to keep the service in his office have been frustrating and unsuccessful.
The Horseshoe Bend Regional Library “meets all qualifying criteria to enter the program,” according the passport agency’s email to Archer, and the national office approved the change earlier this summer.
Anderson said her staff at the library has been trained in the required procedures. Asked whether it would be a lot more work for them, she said, “that remains to be seen.”
“But I think we should be able to handle it,” she said.