Civic Engagement

The Kansas City Public Library is committed to connecting Kansas Citians with resources and information related to voting, taxes, and exchanges with elected officials.

FindLaw has a resource that pulls together information that could help you be part of the solutions for issues affecting your community, highlighting that a healthy democracy requires active participation.

There are all sorts of ways to be a part of those solutions:

It can be intimidating to reach out, but you can lean on the experiences of others who have shared their success. You can search for like-minded organizations that could provide templates for you to use – I’ll be happy to help you search. You can also follow Emily Coleman’s advice in Call the Halls about contacting your representative. Here’s one example, from Emily Coleman, for a phone call to your representative’s office:

  1. Identify your name and city.
  2. State your specific call to action and pose your question to the staffer.
  3. Wait for a response from the staffer.
  4. Tell your personal story about why this particular call to action matters to you.
  5. Ask for your opinion to be recorded and end the call.

If you need to address a local issue (like city services or public improvements), contact your Local Elected Officials

Contact information for City officials can be found on the home page. Scroll down to the Mayor & City Council and Executive Staff buttons and click one. Click the official you want information for. Contact information for departments on the website can be found in the upper right corner of each department page.

Neighborhood Direct is a resource hub for neighborhood groups, community organizations, and residents. Neighborhood Direct replaces a former neighborhood registration process and centralizes access to programs and resources through City Departments and partner agencies. You can search registered neighborhood and partner organizations and create mailing lists using Neighborhood Direct.

City Hall

414 E. 12th St., Kansas City, MO 64106 | 816.513.3600
Business hours: 8 a.m. – 5 p.m., Monday – Friday

Except on holidays and during safety drills. Non-holiday City Hall closings are announced on the home page, through Twitter and through Alert KC, the text message notification system.

If you need help with a state issue, contact your State Elected Officials


Missouri Department of Revenue - provides one (1) nondriver license at no charge to Missourians who wish to obtain a photo ID for voting purposes (and do not already have one). Call 573-526-VOTE (8683) or visit

Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services, Bureau of Vital Records - provides one (1) free exempt copy of a certified Missouri birth certificate to an individual seeking to obtain one (1) free nondriver’s license to vote in Missouri if the applicant does not already have a current nondriver’s license or current driver’s license. Call 573.751.6387 or email

Missouri Secretary of State - obtain official documents needed to get a Missouri nondriver license. Examples include birth certificate; marriage license; adoption decree; U.S. Department of State naturalization papers; or court order changing one’s name. We will pay for official documents from other states or the federal government. If you do not have a Photo ID and need help complete this form to get started. The Secretary of State’s office will receive your information and help you obtain the documents you need. Call toll free 866.868.3245 or email

Kansas City Birth and Death Certificates (vital records) - please call 816.513.6309 or 816.513.6285 or email

Help with ID and Birth Certificate Costs in Kansas City, MO


To get a free photo ID, individuals must fill out a Form DE-VID1 (Certification Requesting Fee Waiver for Nondriver Identification Card) (Español). This form is available at all driver’s licenses offices, all county election offices and online.

Qualifying individuals who lack proof of identity and want to obtain a free nondriver identification card may get a Kansas birth certificate from the Kansas Office of Vital Statistics at no cost. To qualify, individuals must:

  • Not possess and valid photo identification documents under Kansas law
  • Lack any documents necessary to prove their identity
  • Sign an affidavit attesting they do not have a valid photo ID or documents to prove their identity
  • Be registered to vote in Kansas
  • Have been born in Kansas

To get a free birth certificate to obtain a nondriver identification form, individual must submit the following forms to the Kansas Office of Vital Statistics:

  • Form VS-235 (Application for Certified Copy of Kansas Birth Certificate)
  • Form DE-VID1 (Certification Requesting Fee Waiver for Nondriver Identification Card) (Español)

Individuals born outside of Kansas, who do not have proof of identity and who do not wish to pay to obtain such a document from their home state may apply for a State Voter Identification Document. This document can only be used to vote in Kansas.

To qualify for a State Voter Identification Document, individuals must:

  • Not possess and valid photo identification documents under Kansas law
  • Lack any documents necessary to prove their identity
  • Sign an affidavit attesting they do not have a valid photo ID or documents to prove their identity
  • Be registered to vote in Kansas
  • Have not been born in Kansas

The Missouri Department of Social Services: Family Support Division may be able to help you or your family with food stamps, health care, childcare, child support, and other needs.

Food Stamp Recertifications - The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) currently requires Missourians to complete and send a periodic recertification form and any required documents to verify that they still qualify for SNAP (Food Stamp) benefits. The Family Support Division will mail a recertification form that will need to be completed and returned with any required documents before the deadline on the letter.

Food Stamp Interviews - You will only be required to complete a SNAP (Food Stamp) interview if you are a new applicant. If you already get SNAP benefits and received a recertification form, you do not need to do a phone interview at this time. If you are a new SNAP applicant, we will call the number you listed on your application to do your phone interview within 3 days of receiving your application. So you know it is the Family Support Division calling, they will appear on your caller ID as Family Support Division (855.823.4908).

The University of Missouri Extension in Jackson County - Kansas City can also help you apply for Food Stamps – please call 816.482.5854.


Kansas - Department for Children and Families Customer Service: 1.888.369.4777 | TTY: 1.785.296.1491

Kansas Benefits Card

Federal Elected Officials

U.S. Senators from Missouri in Washington DC have Constituent Services teams ready to assist Missourians

  • You must be a resident of Missouri.
  • Your issue must involve a federal agency, not a state or local one.
  • Your case must not involve a pending court action.
  • You must complete and sign a privacy release form to comply with the provisions of the Privacy Act.

Congressman Cleaver’s Constituent Services team is ready to help Missouri’s 5th District with issues, like:

  • Help with a federal agency
  • Ordering a flag
  • Requesting tours and tickets for a visit to Washington DC
  • Considering applying to a military academy

Find contact information for federal government programs, listed by topic.

You can use a my Social Security account to apply for a replacement Social Security card online if you:

  • Are a U.S. citizen age 18 or older with a U.S. mailing address (this includes APO, FPO, and DPO addresses);
  • Are not requesting a name change or any other change to your card; and
  • Have a driver’s license or state-issued identification card from one of the many participating states or the District of Columbia.

You can use your mySocialSecurity account to request a replacement Social Security card, check the status of an application, estimate future benefits, or manage the benefits you already receive.

The News Literacy Project encourages you to pause and take a deep breath when you see a social media post that causes an emotional response. The next thing you can do is search out credible sources before sharing, liking, or commenting. You can also think like a journalist; CNN journalist Christina Zdanowicz uses these questions to guide her next steps:

  • Who is this person?
  • What is the photo showing?
  • What is the poster’s point of view?
  • What is the larger story here? Are other news outlets reporting this story?
  • What are the details on the story’s page? Does the page’s logo match the organization’s logo? Does the URL point to a real news organization?

Here is a curated list of articles, books, and websites that can help you in your critical thinking and fact-finding journey.

Do you want to earn an information literacy certificate? You can do that with LinkedIn Learning and your Kansas City Public Library card.

  • Start with LinkedIn Learning
  • Log in with your library card and pin
  • Then search for “information literacy” and begin your course

With the LinkedIn Learning course, you’ll learn how to

  • Find information from a library, archive, database, or the Internet
  • Evaluate the usefulness and trustworthiness of the information you find
  • Avoid plagiarism and copyright infringement
  • Accurately cite sources
News Literacy

The News Literacy Project partnered with SmartNews, a news app for mobile devices, to bring you five steps for vetting news sources. The steps outlined in this infographic can help you cut through the noise and learn how to evaluate sources for signs of credibility – as well as for red flags that signal a source should be avoided:

  • Do a quick search: Conducting a simple search for information about a news source is a key first step in evaluating its credibility.
  • Look for standards: Reputable news organizations aspire to ethical guidelines and standards, including fairness, accuracy and independence.
  • Check for transparency: Quality news sources should be transparent, not only about their reporting practices (see above), but also about their ownership and funding.
  • Examine how errors are handled: Credible news sources are accountable for mistakes and correct them. Do you see evidence that this source corrects or clarifies errors?
  • Assess news coverage: An important step in vetting sources is taking time to read and assess several news articles.
Fact-checking Resources

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