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Librarian Blog

Service fees

All across the country libraries of every size are charging a limited fine for the return of late materials, as I have noted in earlier blogs. We seem to fall right in line with our late fine of 10 cents per day for books and $1 per day for movies. But larger libraries are also seeing income from various fees for services rendered. For example, some libraries charge a fee for people who don't live in their service area to get a library card. I think Austin is doing this now. The median out-of-area fee is $32. Some libraries also charge significant fees for use of their public rooms. The median fee is $30 per hour. We have just one public-access meeting room. It holds about 50 people. We don't charge any fee at all for public use of that space. Almost all libraries charge a fee for inter-library loans, and the median is $3. We charge $2. We are also lower in terms of fees we charge for copying. The median fee for a b/w copy is 15 cents. We charge 10 cents. The median fee for a color copy is 50 cents. We charge 40 cents. And some libraries charge admission fees for events. We charge nothing. Any way you look at it, we are offering a bargain experience!

Ours are just fine

Most libraries across America charge fines for materials that are returned after the due date. We certainly do. And most of those charges are not what I would call burdensome by any measure. The fine situation was examined in a national survey conducted by Library Journal, the results of which were published earlier this week. The survey found that the median fine for adult printed material was 15 cents. The maximum daily fine was $5. I don't know what library is charging that kind of fee, but it's not in this part of the country, I'm sure. The median fine for late movies is $1 per day, with the maximum set somewhere at $6. Where do we fit? We're right there. We charge 10 cents per day for books returned late and $1 per day for movies returned late. We actually don't get many complaints about our fine structure. A guy came in not long ago asking if we were trying to raise money for something because he had kept some movies out for several days beyond the due date. The idea, I told him, was not to raise money but to keep the due date at the forefront of his mind so we could get the materials back to distribute to other folks waiting for them.

The challenged

The American Library Association has just issued its annual report covering activities last year.
Libraries continue to be vital to their communities, whether that community is a college campus or a high school or a place like Wimberley.
And people continue to lodge complaints about books, specifically it seems, children's or young adult books.
The number of complaints is down quite a bit since 2013.
The Number 1 book on the complaint list this year is "This One Summer" by Mariko Tamaki, illustrated by Jillian Tamaki.
Number 2 is "Drama" written and illustrated by Raina Telgemeier.
John Green, a well-known YA author, sits at Number 6 for "Looking for Alaska."
Most of the complains seem to be about sexually explicit language or scenes in all books in the Top 10.
Sad to say, I have not read a single one of them.
I am, though, going to pass the list right on to our YA librarian. She'll be in the know.

Fine ... or not?

Several libraries have made the headlines recently by stopping the collection of fines for materials returned late. But they are in a very small minority among all of the nation's libraries, according to a survey published this week by Library Journal. Their survey found that 92 percent of libraries responding do charge fines. Among large libraries the percentage is 98 percent. Of all libraries only 34 percent have even talked about doing away with fines and fees or late charges. By far most of the libraries use fines to help pay their regular operating expenses through the year so it's unlikely many will do away with them. What do other libraries charge in the way of fines or late fees? How does the Wimberely library stack up? Check this space Friday to find out.

Out in front

It's good to know that the Wimberley Village Library is out there on the cutting edge in terms of library innovation.
Brookings has published a report on how libraries are changing to meet new demands from their communities.
We seem to fit into the category of libraries that are pushing the envelope, so to speak, to not only provide traditional services but others, as well.
For example, just check out all the programs we are offering in April alone. There's something for everyone.
Here's what the Brookings report had to say about libraries. See if you don't see us fitting into the group of early innovators.

A reason public libraries are seen as such important third-place institutions is that they and their librarians have gradually taken on other functions well beyond lending out books. In many communities, librarians are also ad hoc social workers and navigators. They help local people figure out the complexities of life, from navigating the health system to helping those with housing needs. This “go-to” role has influenced library programming and events, with libraries providing advice and connections to health, housing, literacy, and other areas.

Other sectors, such as health care, increasingly see public libraries as a critical link to a community.
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