Santa Clarita debuts office for passports

Canyon Country resident Shirley Holder, left, is assisted by library aide Janelle Christopher as Holder completes paperwork for her passport at the Passport Acceptance Facility in the Old Town Newhall Library on Wednesday, Oct. 3. Dan Watson / The Signal

City of Santa Clarita officials commemorated the opening of the Passport Acceptance Facility on Wednesday, located at the Old Town Newhall Library.

“The Santa Clarita Library has what you need and for where you’re going and now this includes passport services,” said Mayor Laurene Weste at the event, who was accompanied by Mayor Pro Tem Marsha McLean and Councilman Bill Miranda.

The facility, located on the second floor of the library, offers various services including for first-time passports, select passport renewals, and replacements and photos.

Since it opened in August, the demand has been high, according to city librarian Shannon Vonnegut. She said many residents have already taken advantage of services, including the facility’s online appointment feature.

“It’s been very popular since it went live last week,” said Vonnegut. “Right now, if you wanted to make an appointment, it would be at least a week for the next availability.”

The demand already shown at the facility mirrors that of other service providers across the country, with about 20 million passport books and cards predicted to be issued this year alone, Weste said citing the U.S. Department of State.

“High demand will transfer into long waits,” she said. “That’s why we’re very excited to be able to offer this convenience service at your local library.”

With many visiting the Passport Acceptance Facility, its hours have expanded to serve locals Monday through Friday, instead of its previous schedule of only twice a week.

To ease the long lines at the Castaic Passport Center in Valencia, Vonnegut said, “it’s nice not to have to go farther away for these services.”

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