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IDNYC Card—A Card With Many Benefits

by on June 3, 2015

NYC residents can now access library services in all five of its boroughs, using either a traditional library card or the newly adopted IDNYC Card, which offers other benefits as well.

On January 12, 2015, New York City Mayor Bill DiBlasio launched the IDNYC program to all New York City residents, most notably those who had previously been unable to obtain government-accepted identification due to barriers such as gender identity, immigration status, homelessness, or other identifiers. The IDNYC opens the door to city services and programs—library cards being just one of them[1]. All City residents age 14 and above are eligible to get a municipal ID card, and enrollment is free for anyone who applies in 2015. The City has also opened six enrollment centers for City agency clients in the Department of Probation and the Human Resources Administration.“IDNYC is not only a card for all New Yorkers, it is the gateway to City services, the key to opening a bank account or getting a library card, and the ticket to many of our city’s finest cultural institutions,” said DiBlasio. “More than that, this card represents who we are: New Yorkers who value equality, opportunity, and diversity.”[1]

By any measure, the card has been a huge success. On the first day that applications became available a line snaked around the block outside the Flushing branch of the Queens Library. With one of the most linguistically diverse populations in the five boroughs, the Queens Library serves the communities that the DiBlasio administration hopes to reach.[2] Demand has been overwhelming and initial concerns about undocumented residents’ hesitancy in applying have proved unfounded. It is now necessary to make appointments in order to apply and to date most sites are making appointments well into September 2015.[3]

Lorena Cano, 36, who immigrated from El Salvador in 2004, waited outside the Flushing library with her two children, ages 6 and 3. She wanted a card she said, because “it’s important, if something happens, that the country knows who I am.” She said she also planned to take advantage of the library access for her children.[4]

The IDNYC carries many other benefits for all NYC residents:[5]

  • Exclusive entertainment discounts on movie tickets, Broadway shows, sporting events, theme parks, and more with Entertainment Benefits Group.
  • A 10 percent discount off annual NYC Parks Recreation Center membership for adults age 25-61 and NYC Parks Department tennis permits.
  • A 20 percent discount on family memberships at all 22 YMCA centers citywide.
  • A free 30-day trial and fitness evaluation with a certified trainer at all New York Sports Club, Inc. locations.
  • A 5 % discount off all purchases at Food Bazaar supermarkets Monday through Friday, from 7 AM to 7 PM.
  • A 25 percent discount on New York Pass, a citywide pass to 83 tourist attractions in all five boroughs.
  • Free one-year membership packages at 33 of the City’s leading cultural institutions, including world class museums, performing arts centers, concert halls, botanical gardens, and zoos across the five boroughs.

Thanks to the new ID card, the three separate library systems in New York City—the Queens Library, the Brooklyn Public Library, and the New York Public Library—are expected to welcome many new library users. “After public schools, the public libraries of New York are the leading free provider of English-language classes,” said Tony Marx, president of the New York Public Library.[6]  Most new IDNYC card holders will be first-time library users like the ones Mr. Marx’s branches serve. They will need special library services such as ESL classes, computer classes, or literacy classes. It will be an exciting and challenging time for all of New York City’s library systems.


[1]”Mayor Bill De Blasio and Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito Launch IDNYC, The Country’s Most Ambitious Municipal Identification Program.” New York City. Gov. City of New York, 12 Jan. 2015. Web. 25 Jan. 2015. <nyc id card and library benefits>  http://www1.nyc.gov/office-of-the-mayor/news/021-15/mayor-bill-de-blasio-council-speaker-melissa-mark-viverito-launch-idnyc-country-s-most#/0

[2] Flegenheimer, Matt. “New York City’s ID Card Program Draws a Large Response by.” The New York Times 12 Jan. 2015. The New York Times. Web. 25 Jan. 2015. http://www.nytimes.com/2015/01/13/nyregion/new-york-citys-id-card-program-draws-a-large-response.html?_r=0

[3] Winsor, M. (2015, January 25). Illegal Immigrant Identification Card: IDNYC Enrollment Appointments To Begin, Following High Demand. International Business Times.

[4]  Ibid

[5] Mayor Bill de Blasio and Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito Launch IDNYC, The Country’s Most Ambitious Municipal Identification Program

[6] Smith, J. (2015, January 5). ID Cards Will Also Work at NYC’s Libraries.