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Old 06-29-2011, 12:36 PM   #31
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Originally Posted by anamardoll View Post
I think starting from a position that "without charging patrons, e-content will not expand" is probably assuming facts not in evidence, but if those are the only two options available, then I suppose the point is rather moot.....
That's not my position. One of the many libraries I belong to has already shut down two branches this year. They also have a poor selection of ebooks. What are the chances that they'll greatly expand their ebook collection with the budget they currently operate out of?

Who wins now?
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Old 06-29-2011, 12:37 PM   #32
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I'm in the U.S. and our only *fee* is for a library replacement card...$1.00, I believe, but that could vary by state. (And, as others have mentioned, the subsidizing through property taxes).

I'd also be willing to pay a fee that went directly to the digital portion of the library, but I think the suggestions of 'means-testing' might actually end up costing more than it saved.

I've memberships to two county and one city library ... and I've looked into maybe obtaining membership in out-of-state libraries but haven't actually acted on it yet. Of course, for those, I'd for sure expect to pay a fee.
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Old 06-29-2011, 12:45 PM   #33
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Means testing doesn't have to be complicated. Exempt patrons over a certain age; and for the rest, have them produce a food stamp card.

Again, this begs key questions:
  • who pays for their transportation to a library?
  • who pays for their ereader?
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Old 06-29-2011, 12:46 PM   #34
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Well, it is easy to think of eBooks as "high end" but that isn't always the case.

I can't recall ever seeing a direct comparison but I'd be willing to bet that on a per checkout basis, an eBook is cheaper than an inter-library loan of a DTB. In our system you are talking staff time in two buildings, plus a truck, plus the truck driver.

And what of audiobooks which we've offered via Overdrive long before we implemented eBooks. Those are heavily used by print disabled clientele and it really would be practically a crime in my mind to charge a fee for them. But is it fair to offer audiobook checkouts with no extra fees and then not eBooks? Format discrimination?
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Old 06-29-2011, 12:52 PM   #35
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And what of audiobooks which we've offered via Overdrive long before we implemented eBooks. Those are heavily used by print disabled clientele and it really would be practically a crime in my mind to charge a fee for them. But is it fair to offer audiobook checkouts with no extra fees and then not eBooks? Format discrimination?
Transportation discrimination? Device discrimination?
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Old 06-29-2011, 12:55 PM   #36
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I'm in the U.S. and our only *fee* is for a library replacement card...$1.00, I believe, but that could vary by state. (And, as others have mentioned, the subsidizing through property taxes).
Varies by city. SF charges $1 for adult replacement cards; Berkeley charges $2. Los Angeles is $3. I think I've seen as high as $5, but it's still a nominal fee to cover the nuisance of reprinting or filling out another form.

US libraries are supposed to be tax-supported; I don't want some features to become pay-per-use bonuses. It's supposed to be a cultural repository, not a book rental store. If they need more money to provide all the content the community wants, the community needs to either agree to pay more taxes (distributed among everyone) or support the occasional fundraiser (where those who can afford it pay more).

I *don't* want private groups to be encouraged to provide special, regular funding; we'd wind up with churches and corporations telling the libraries what they can & can't stock. (More than they already do.)
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Old 06-29-2011, 01:17 PM   #37
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I am happy to pay for the option. I just sent the Free Library of Philadelphia $35 to renew my card with them. In the past year I have read 21 ebooks that I borrowed from them. Even if I only read a half-dozen next year, I am happy to support them in their efforts to expand their ebook holdings.
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Old 06-29-2011, 01:28 PM   #38
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I would pay a small fee for ebook usage. $50 is much too high, I think. I don't pay a yearly fee for my library system here in Canada, but my library in Croatia charges $15 a year for students (I can only take out 6 books at a time), and the academic library charges $20 (4 books at a time, no online journal access!).
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Old 06-29-2011, 01:31 PM   #39
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Transportation discrimination?
Many counties, mine included, provide transportation assistance to qualified residents. I just did a quick search, and, yep, libraries are included.
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Old 06-29-2011, 01:33 PM   #40
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Many counties, mine included, provide transportation assistance to qualified residents. I just did a quick search, and, yep, libraries are included.
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Old 06-29-2011, 01:37 PM   #41
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Originally Posted by tubemonkey View Post
Means testing doesn't have to be complicated. Exempt patrons over a certain age; and for the rest, have them produce a food stamp card.

Again, this begs key questions:
  • who pays for their transportation to a library?
  • who pays for their ereader?
Your first criteria is arbitrary; your second inadequate.

Just because someone is old doesn't mean they don't have the means to support the library as a "Library Patron". Just because someone is too poor to pay to rent books doesn't mean they automatically have a food stamp card.

I agree with a previous poster that exemptions are onerous and not cost-effective. An opt-in pay program would be much more manageable in my opinion.

Let us also please not forget that (a) a patron does not have to travel to the library to check out an eBook, and (b) a patron does not have to have an eReader to read an eBook.
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Old 06-29-2011, 01:38 PM   #42
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That's not my position. One of the many libraries I belong to has already shut down two branches this year. They also have a poor selection of ebooks. What are the chances that they'll greatly expand their ebook collection with the budget they currently operate out of?

Who wins now?
Do what I do -- donate money specifically for eBooks.
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Old 06-29-2011, 01:48 PM   #43
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Originally Posted by anamardoll View Post
Let us also please not forget that (a) a patron does not have to travel to the library to check out an eBook, and (b) a patron does not have to have an eReader to read an eBook.
Lacking home internet service and any ereading device, transportation is crucial. Again, who provides these?
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Old 06-29-2011, 01:56 PM   #44
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[QUOTE=Elfwreck;1635423
US libraries are supposed to be tax-supported.

[/QUOTE]

No they are not.

In many places they are, but in much of America libraries have always been charitable endevors of the community.
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Old 06-29-2011, 02:04 PM   #45
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Lacking home internet service and any ereading device, transportation is crucial. Again, who provides these?

And probably not just any internet service. I can't imagine trying to download audiobooks, for instance, on a dial-up service. E-books might be easier, though.

Really interesting discussion. I'm enjoying all the opinions/offerings immensely.
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