Today my local news station's top story online was that the Independence Library revoked the library cards of hundreds of patrons. At first I just assumed a letter was sent to these people who had expired cards, but the story is much more confusing than this.
Independence, the town who is terminating library privileges for patrons, is the biggest town, servicing several other small towns. These towns do not have a library, and have never paid any money in taxes to use the Independence Library. After a year of discussion, and only two of the five towns agreeing to pay the $2 per resident fee to use the library, the other three towns' residents were informed that they could no longer check out books from the Independence Library. Part of me feels like this is wrong. Isn't the library supposed to be for everyone? Yet, I can understand the Independence Library Board's feelings - that their residents are paying money to materials that other people are using. Those materials cost money, and in order to keep supplying the library with adequate offerings, everyone who uses the library should be contributing a portion of their taxes to use the facility and all that is inside. What kind of a message are those towns sending to their residents? That they don't value what a library has to offer? That they don't care if students can't access information to complete homework? That they would rather have kids hanging out in other places that may not be as positively influential as a library?
I am a person who has library cards from 5 libraries. Only one of them is in the town I live in. I don't remember what questions are on the application form for a library card. But, part of me wonders that if there might be question that asks something along the lines of "Do you have a library card from another library?" In that way, the libraries where I am not a resident would be sure that part of my tax money was going to pay for library services - even if it wasn't in their town. Right now even the residents who offered to buy a library card were turned down, because that is not how library cards are made available. I don't like the idea of having to pay for a library card, but I would happily fork over $25 (or whatever amount) per year to pay for the privilege to check out books.
What do you think? Check out the link to the article about residents losing their library privileges.