Program provides passport to libraries


Books can take people to other worlds and get their passport stamped as well.

The Public Libraries Section of the Connecticut Library Association is sponsoring the Passport to Connecticut Libraries program throughout September.

The program, which is based on the state’s Wine Trail Passport program, allows a resident to pick up a passport and get it stamped at any of the participating libraries across the state.

The program is running in 87 libraries across the state, including the Beacon Falls Public Library and the Howard Whittemore Memorial Library.

At the end of the month participants can turn their passports back into their local library and be entered into two raffle drawing: most libraries visited and the random drawing. The drawing will be for two adult prizes of $150 and two children’s prizes of $100.

Participants must visit at least five libraries to be entered into the drawing.

In addition to the prizes most libraries hand out small gifts, such as bookmarks or notepads, to anyone who comes from out of town.

Whittemore Library Director Jocelyn Miller said the program will help participating libraries and municipalities.

“This will help draw more people to Naugatuck through this library program and make more aware of our library,” Miller said. “It’s possible they will shop and have a meal while in Naugatuck.”

Beacon Falls Library Director Sue Dowdell said the program will help people become more familiar with libraries around the state.

“The passport lets people know what’s available in the libraries,” Dowdell said.

One of the reasons this passport program works is that the state’s public libraries are all connected, which means a residents can check out a book from a library in any town and return it to their hometown library.

Dowdell and Miller said Connecticut is one of the few states with this system.

“One thing I found out while in New Hampshire is I couldn’t go from library to library. I would have to buy a membership in each specific library,” Dowdell said.

Dowdell said memberships could cost up to $200, depending on the library.

“If you have a card from your public library you can use it at any public library. You can return the materials at any library in the state,” Miller said. “Connecticut is small enough that people can use libraries throughout the entire state.”

Miller said the reason the Connecticut Library Association chose September for the program is that it is also Library Card Sign-up Month.

“The objective is to build awareness of the value of a library card,” Miller said.

Miller added September is also a good time for families to travel through the state.

“It’s a nice time for people to take a drive through Connecticut and stop at the libraries,” Miller said.