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Vital Records at San Antonio Public Library

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Vital Records at San Antonio Public Library

San Antonio Public Library, Texas

Wellness, Safety and Sustainability | 2014

Innovation Summary

As a result of a city budget initiative whereby several community service centers were closed, a unique partnership was formed whereby the San Antonio Public Library (SAPL) would sell birth certificates and immunization records to the public.

Problem Statement

The goal of this project was to reduce negative impact to residents by offering alternative locations at which to purchase limited vital records. Instead of everyone having to go to the Office of the City Clerk (OCC) downtown, the geographic reach of service of the closing centers would be mirrored by providing the sales at the branch library locations closest to the closing centers (plus one additional one in the district of an enthused council member) The original concept was to provide the service for only 3 months during the busiest time of the year for sales – summer – in order to address the back-to-school needs. Bringing together a total of nine city departments to work together to bring the concept to implementation is no small feat!


A Memorandum of Understanding was developed and signed between SAPL and the OCC, under whom the Library provides the service. As part of the agreement to provide the service, enhancements to the Library’s hardware and software infrastructure were made by the City of San Antonio Information Technology Services Department. Support was also provided by the City’s Human Resources, Finance and Metro Health departments. The City’s Communications office as well as the Library’s Marketing Department promoted the service to the community across all aspects of viral, social, and traditional marketing. SAPL staff was trained on the process of providing these records in accordance with State and Federal (HIPPA) Laws and security of bank note paper (fraud prevention) and increased funds on-hand were implemented.


The service has been widely commended by the general public and local media for its convenience and value to the public. Additionally, it allowed SAPL staff to increase its skill set, which includes a better understanding of references and referrals for State Record processes. Natural beneficial results of the new service and the attention it garnered included a new audience of potential new patrons as well as an increase in value to city leaders and stakeholders. This pilot program proved to be so successful that the service is now provided year round. In the six months since the program began more than 5,000 birth certificates and 1,500 Immunization records have been made available and sold to those who need access to them the most.