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The University Star

The Student News Site of Texas State University

The University Star

The Student News Site of Texas State University

The University Star

Programs offer IDs for county residents

Ryan Claycamp
Tatiana Salazar, San Marcos bilingual Ccommunications specialist, filling out the application for an enhanced library card on Wednesday, Oct. 18, at the San Marcos Public Library.

A program at the San Marcos Public Library (SMPL) has created a path for San Marcos and Hays County residents to get a library card that doubles as a photo ID.

The program started in 2021 with the help of local advocacy groups Mano Amiga and the Homeless Outreach, Mitigation and Emergency Center of Central Texas, which hoped to create a pathway to a photo ID, called an enhanced library card. The card is aimed toward individuals who may not otherwise be able to get an ID, such as homeless people and immigrants.

To get an enhanced library card, one must be at least 18-years-old, provide information to confirm their residency, such as a utility bill and another way to confirm their identity such as a shelter ID or a mug shot.

“The idea of the program is to bridge the gap for marginalized people in the community such as the unhoused or immigrants that have difficulty obtaining an identification [card] through [The Department of Public Safety],” Adam Landry, services manager for the SMPL, said.

The enhanced library cards are similar to a student ID, but it is available to any adult who lives in San Marcos or Hays County and has an address printed on it.

The enhanced library card isn’t a state issued ID, so it can not be used to vote or buy alcohol, but it can be used for certain jobs and to take the GED test.

“It’s a much less cumbersome way than going through the state,” Landry said. “It’s a bridge to get people to the things they need more quickly.”

One of Landry’s goals is maintain the legitimacy of the program, in hopes that more businesses, groups and agencies will start accepting it as a valid form of ID.

“We’re seeing more agencies and people start to accept it, but we don’t have any guarantees that anyone will accept it outside of the city of San Marcos,” Landry said.

One of the local agencies that does accept the enhanced library cards is the San Marcos Police Department.

“We will accept any form of identification that will help an officer correctly identify a citizen,” San Marcos Police Chief Stan Standridge said. “The library card may necessitate follow up questions to confirm their identity, which can then be compared or contrasted to computer records.”

The SMPL allows for walk-ins to get an enhanced ID from 2 – 4 p.m. every Wednesday. Appointments can be scheduled by contacting the library through their website.

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