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Old 06-30-2011, 02:17 AM   #61
Sweetpea
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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?
Well, we do have an advantage here. There is something called the "library bus". It will drive through the province and stops at some major village centers (where there is no physical library building) where people can borrow and hand in their books. So, in case the person wanting to borrow a (non-existing) ebook without having access to internet, something could be rigged in that bus. But, in this country, we have a very high internet penetration (broadband even). So, I think, if they would ever go into ebooks, that service would not be used a lot.
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Old 06-30-2011, 04:30 AM   #62
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Who suggested that this proposal would prevent low income individuals from getting ebooks?
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Old 06-30-2011, 06:07 AM   #63
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Bad idea and bad precedent. i already pay for my local and area as well as all the rest of the public libraries in the state.
Precedents abound in the US. We pay taxes for roads and yet we still get hit with user fees for toll roads and bridges. We pay taxes for National Parks and still have to pay admission to use them.

And why do we pay these user fees? Because taxes don't cover the entire cost to build, maintain, and operate these services.

Should we have to pay a fee to access ebooks in a public library?
Should we have to pay a toll to access public bridges on a public road?
Should we have to pay an entrance fee to access a public National Park?

Whether we like it or not, the precedent for paying user fees to access public facilities already exists; and libraries aren't any more sacred than public parks.

We have tough choices ahead in these bad economic times. We can take an absolutist position and proclaim no user fees ever for public libraries; while they slowly deteriorate from poor funding. Or, we can take a proactive stance and consider implementing user fees to bolster diminishing taxes.
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Old 06-30-2011, 09:54 AM   #64
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Our Library system is getting renovated for a cost of $60 Million (Voter approved bond).
Our population is 58,000

I think we are paying (They tried for $90M, 2 years before, we said: NO! )
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Old 06-30-2011, 10:19 AM   #65
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Perhaps instead of paying for ebooks from a library they should make it easy to buy an ebook to be added to the library (maybe through the libraries web site) The person who buys it can be the first one to take it out if they want. Most people don't take more then three weeks to read a book anyway. This way if I want to read a book but see that it is not in the ebook library I could buy it and read it myself and then after that other people could. Thus only people who can afford to buy books would be "paying" for the library!
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Old 06-30-2011, 10:36 AM   #66
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Quote:
Originally Posted by theducks View Post
Our Library system is getting renovated for a cost of $60 Million (Voter approved bond).
Our population is 58,000

I think we are paying (They tried for $90M, 2 years before, we said: NO! )
Awesome! Will it have an olympic size swimming pool or something? (Remembering that $578M high school they built in L.A. while thousands of teachers were being laid off).
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Old 06-30-2011, 10:39 AM   #67
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Old 06-30-2011, 11:18 AM   #68
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Things like national parks and libraries benefit everyone indirectly, so are properly financed in part by taxes. However, they particularly benefit those who use them regularly, so I think that modest user fees are appropriate.
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Old 06-30-2011, 12:48 PM   #69
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tubemonkey View Post
Who suggested that this proposal would prevent low income individuals from getting ebooks?
Probably the point at which someone pointed out that the proposal would require patrons to cough up money in order to access ebooks?

As I've said, I don't mind a situation where a "premium patron club" could be instituted where patrons voluntarily choose to pay money to the library in order to help out. In return, all sorts of carrots could be offered: more books checked out simultaneously, maybe, or fast tracking to the front of the hold list on brand new releases.

But there's a reason why a lot of people in this thread are against a "pay for ebooks" suggestion and it's because we're uncomfortable with basic access to the library being denied to people who can't or who FEEL they can't pay for the luxury of reading. That is, in fact, the whole point of a library -- to offer a public service for readers who can't just up and go to the bookstore.

We've all seen "exceptions clauses" handled poorly. Making someone PROVE that they're too poor to pay for ebooks is a bad system -- it's a nightmare of employees and paperwork, it's insulting and degrading, and furthermore it's just plain not going to work. There is no one way to identify ALL the poor people in this country -- they don't ALL have food stamps to flash at the librarian or a WIC card or whatever.

And then you have the middle grounders -- people who won't pay for library access because they don't want to spend money for their reading, like my Mom who currently exclusively gets books from the library because it's free. Her property taxes go to support the library, and she's happy to use it, but if they started charging a fee, she'd stop. Losing that demographic would be TERRIBLE for libraries, because how do you keep going to the bench defending your need for funding when the numbers show that half your customers don't use your service anymore?

I've yet to hear a good reason why an "opt-in" fee would be worse than an "opt-out" fee, while hearing many many good reasons why an "opt-out" fee will hurt people. (Like, say, Matilda. I'm sure her parents would have loved to pay the lending fees. How can you hate Matilda??? ) If the ONLY reason to prefer an "opt-out" fee is because otherwise it's just not fair because someone, somewhere, will use the library without paying even though they COULD, well, then the issue has stopped being about "helping libraries" and more about "making sure the rich don't rent ebooks for free".

Tl;dr. Carrots, not sticks.
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Old 06-30-2011, 01:55 PM   #70
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Things like national parks and libraries benefit everyone indirectly, so are properly financed in part by taxes. However, they particularly benefit those who use them regularly, so I think that modest user fees are appropriate.

If I could give negative karma for that, I would.

Libraries most benefit the people who NEED them most - a user fee of any kind, modest or not, would defeat the purpose.

Libraries have been a great benefit to me when I couldn't have paid for their services - I'm immensely happy to give to them now that I'm able to (and I donate to my local library regularly).

It's exactly for that reason that I'm against charging fees. The benefits to society as a whole far outweigh the costs incurred.

Besides, there are plenty of state and federal parks that don't charge fees - it's only the frequently used ones, where maintenance costs are high, that charge user fees. You don't HAVE to pay a fee to enjoy our lovely country.
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Old 06-30-2011, 04:14 PM   #71
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I've already paid taxes and hundreds of dollars in overdue fines!
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Old 06-30-2011, 05:41 PM   #72
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that's not a bad system at all. it would also encourage a more diverse collection of titles, perhaps?
@wyndslash: How do you see the system promoting diversity of a collection?
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Old 06-30-2011, 08:31 PM   #73
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I don't like the idea of libraries charging for patron access to any media. It goes against everything public libraries have always been about, at least here in the US.

start rant! People need to get off this I don't want to pay any taxes, or I only want to pay taxes for what benefits me directly kick. It has gone too far! stop rant.

If the libraries must charge for anything to find another source of revenue I would rather they charge for DVD rental. According to the director of my local library this is the biggest cost to them (speaking only of the various media they offer) because of the popularity of DVD checkouts and the fact that DVDs only last a few months before replacement is required.
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Old 07-01-2011, 12:17 AM   #74
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I don't like the idea of libraries charging for patron access to any media. It goes against everything public libraries have always been about, at least here in the US.

start rant! People need to get off this I don't want to pay any taxes, or I only want to pay taxes for what benefits me directly kick. It has gone too far! stop rant.

If the libraries must charge for anything to find another source of revenue I would rather they charge for DVD rental. According to the director of my local library this is the biggest cost to them (speaking only of the various media they offer) because of the popularity of DVD checkouts and the fact that DVDs only last a few months before replacement is required.
I'm especially amused by people who come on the Internet, WHICH WOULD NOT EXIST without government backing, and complain that they get no benefit from their taxes.

They must not drive on the roads either.

Not to mention all the benefits of government sponsored research, etc etc etc. The list of benefits we all reap from our taxes is too long to go on about. It's also so transparent that we take too much of it for granted.

I know, Rant over
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Old 07-01-2011, 12:56 AM   #75
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While there are some truly poverty-stricken people who patronize libraries, very few of the people I see there are wearing cardboard on their feet. They have a few bucks, and they can afford some modest fees. After all, they have an ereader that set them back a hundred bucks or more, so why should all the media be totally free?

Just because something is worthwhile, like a public library, that doesn't mean the government has to totally underwrite it. A library should very reasonably expect to get some government money, do some private fundraising, and charge a few fees. It's a mix.

And I agree about the DVDs. When did public libraries become government sponsored Blockbusters? Is the best use of tax money to loan out free copies of Cabin Boy? Surely there's somebody out there who needs, oh, I don't know...food, maybe, or health care?
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