It's a Fantastic Service': Get Your Documents Notarized for Free at the Library
Did you know the Library offers free professional notary services? Veteran attorney Dara Baird is one of the certified Notary publics makes this resource possible.
Baird started volunteering with the Notary program at Rosa F. Keller Library roughly 10 years ago. As an active part of the Broadmoor neighborhood and former member of the committee to rebuild Keller Library after Hurricane Katrina, Baird said loves giving back to her community.
“I was so excited to have the Library back when Keller officially reopened in 2012, so I was coming here all the time,” Baird recalled. “One day, not long after the building opened, I came in and saw a guy notarizing documents. I thought to myself ‘What a great idea! How can I get involved?”
So, Baird went to the desk and gave them her contact information. Before long, she was volunteering at the Library every week.
“I never looked back. It never even crosses my mind to stop,” she said. “We had to take a break in the early days of COVID, but I’m so happy we were able to get it back up and running relatively quickly.”
In the decade she’s been volunteering at the Library, Baird said she’s seen first-hand how much of an impact this service can have.
“Notaries are so expensive, especially when you need multiple documents Notarized, which is often the case,” she said. “It’s usually around $25 per document, but I’ve heard of people charging much more than that –– like $75 per document. So, it can really add up quick. Offering a service like a free notary might not seem like a lot to people, but it can actually make a huge difference.”
Over the years, Baird said people have brought her small gifts to show their appreciation –– fresh tomatoes or satsumas from their gardens, homemade candies, and once, a hand-sewn apron.
“Of course, I am not doing this for the gifts, and I would never accept anything of monetary value. But, it just goes to show how much this one little thing means to people,” she said.
Since Barid started volunteering, the Library implemented notary services at Algiers Regional (Wednesdays from 4-5:30 pm), East New Orleans Regional (Thursdays from 4:30-5:30 pm) and Main Libraries (Saturdays from 2-4pm). Baird’s services are available at Keller Library on Saturdays from 10-10:45am.
As the Library continues to expand the program, more notary volunteers are needed.
“I am so happy to see the program grow. If you’re a certified notary that cares about their community, I would highly recommend looking into volunteering with the Library,” she said. “It’s easy, it’s not a large time commitment, and it’s truly satisfying. Honestly, I find it so fulfilling –– in many ways, more so than my normal practice.”
Baird said it’s rare that her Saturday sessions aren’t full.
“People use this service, they really do. It’s already making a huge difference for so many people with just one day a week at Keller. With more volunteers and more appointment options, this program really has the potential to help a lot of people” Baird said. “It’s a fantastic service and I’m excited to see where it goes.”
Rachel Bailey is the head of adult programming at the New Orleans Public Library and coordinates the free notary services. Certified notary publics can inquire about volunteering by emailing her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
You do not need a Library card to use the free notary service, but appointments are required. Notary services are limited to 3 documents per person, per visit, and are not available for commercial businesses. Visit nolalibrary.co/notary to book your appointment today.
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