Wednesday, May 4, 2011

With Loss of $1.3 Million in State Funding, Santa Clara County Library Initiates Non-Resident User Fee

Santa Clara County Library system to begin $80 annual fee for non-residents. (San Jose Mercury News, 5/4/2011)

ExcerptSince 1988, the state has offered a subsidy of about 30 cents for each transaction when nonresidents use county libraries. But the governor's proposed budget would eliminate all state funding for public libraries, about a $1.3 million reduction in revenue for the county system in the next fiscal year.

There are eight library branches within the county system, which serves residents of Campbell, Cupertino, Gilroy, Los Altos, Los Altos Hills, Milpitas, Monte Sereno, Morgan Hill, Saratoga and the unincorporated areas of the county.

But plenty of library users would be on the hook for the $80 fee: Out of the 356,107 county library card holders, 153,548 -- or 43 percent -- live outside the library district. The percentage is greater for individual branches. For example, 56 percent of the people who use the Campbell library live outside the district, including 29 percent from San Jose

If your library is open more hours than libraries in neighboring communities, they will come.  Nonresidents decide to use the county system for a variety of reasons, sometimes because the branch is closer to their house than their own city library. But one important reason is the county branch libraries are open between five and seven days a week. San Jose libraries are open four to four-and-a-half days a week. There is now a proposal to cut those San Jose branch library hours to three days a week.

Related article:
California's depressing library landscape. (4/11/2011)

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