Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Link to March 16 Grand Island Independent article, "$40 fee proposed by library board".

Excerpt:   The Grand Island Public Library board gave unanimous approval Monday night to implementing a $40 annual fee for every household outside of Grand Island that uses the city library -- unless the Hall County board resumes payment by May 1.

"It's less than $3.50 a month for a household to have unlimited access," said library board member Mike Kneale. "That's a pretty good bargain."

The fee, to begin May 1, will apply only to those people in the household who want to check-out library material or log onto library computers. Simply entering and reading material at the library will remain free.

"Checkouts will be less if you start charging a fee," said Jan Duncan of Cairo.

Duncan said she reads in her spare time, has two children who were raised as avid readers and now has three grandchildren who are also readers. Her brother and daughter both rely on library computers for online bill paying and for research.

"In my opinion, you should not have a fee," she told the seven-member library board.

But Grand Island residents pay a fee to support the library, Kneale said. They pay through their property taxes.

The city support amounts to just more than $43 for every man, women and child in Grand Island, Library Director Steve Fosselman previously told the board.

Hall County taxpayers also used to contribute through property taxes, but the Hall County board ended that 48-year agreement in August 2009, Kneale said.

It was a breach of contract that left a $107,000 shortfall in the library's current budget.

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