Rolling Hills Library

A woman checks out books on September 2 at the Rolling Hills Library.

You can check out of a library with more than just a pile of books. Local libraries, including the St. Joseph Public Libraries and the Rolling Hills Library, are helping people register to vote.

Rolling Hills offers voter registration forms every time someone signs up for a library card. They will even mail it to the county clerk’s office for the voter.

“We thought that encouraging them to register to vote and participate in the process is one of our responsibilities as a public library,” said Michelle Mears, director of Rolling Hills Library.

St. Joseph Libraries have closed all of their buildings due to a rise of COVID-19 cases. However, staff still are offering contactless services, including giving people voter registration cards.

People can also register at Buchanan County Clerk’s office or at the Department of Motor Vehicles. Citizens are allowed to vote in person or by absentee, if they meet one of the seven requirements.

This year, due to the pandemic, people can also vote through a mail-in ballot but it must be notarized and mailed in, not dropped off, Buchanan County Clerk Mary Baack-Garvey said. Absentee ballots must be notarized if the ballot is mailed to them outside of the

county.

Both libraries are

offering notary services, with the St. Joseph Public Libraries requiring an appointment.

“We just started offering notary services this year,” Mears said. “After the shelter-in-place (order), when bank lobbies weren’t reopening, many people needed a notary and couldn’t find one. So we made a concerted

effort among our staff to have people apply to become notaries.”

Both libraries said it is their responsibility to provide services to the public.

“Libraries are all about access to information,” said Mary Beth Revels, the director of St. Joseph Public Libraries. “We want people to be involved in our communities, we want people to have a voice in our communities and in our country.”

People also can register to vote online at the Missouri Secretary of State website at www.sos.mo.gov/.