Excerpt: For decades libraries had reciprocal agreements that allowed California residents to borrow books and materials from any library in the state, said Howe. The state would then reimburse the libraries for any losses they incurred in an effort to make the library experience a seamless one for residents.
"It was a really marvelous program--the envy of many states," Howe said.
However, the state's reimbursement rate dropped every year as a result of budget cutbacks until it came to a complete halt last year. The elimination of the reciprocal borrowing fund was the primary trigger for implementing the $80 fee, said Howe.
The Joint Powers Authority, the library's governing board that was created in the mid-'90s to preserve library service amid state cutbacks, elected to set the $80 fee in July 2011.
Santa Clara County Library System
2011-2012 Total and Non-Resident Circ (Est.)