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May 13, 2011 > Santa Clara County to charge library card fee for non-residents

Santa Clara County to charge library card fee for non-residents

Submitted By Gwendolyn Mitchell and Marina Hinestrosa

Reductions of State funding and increasing demand for library services were cited as reasons for initiating an $80 annual library card fee for non-residents of the District, effective July 1, 2011. "We know how popular and valuable the Santa Clara County Library District services and programs are, but we have to have the funding to continue to offer them to non-residents," said County of Santa Clara Supervisor Liz Kniss, Delegate to the Santa Clara County Library District Joint Powers Authority. "There will continue to be no fee for residents of the Library District."

Since 1988, the State has reimbursed public libraries for lending materials to non-residents of their district, and any resident of California could get a card at any public library in the state. Demands for service have increased to a point that the Santa Clara County Library District lends far more books to non-residents than District residents borrow from other libraries. At one time, the Library received over $2 million annually to partially reimburse the cost of this service.

The Governor's proposed budget includes the elimination of $30.4 million in state funding for three of California's most valuable public library programs: The Public Library Foundation, the California Literacy Program and the Transaction Based Reimbursement, a cooperative system of borrowing and loaning books that has existed statewide for several decades. The State Budget for Fiscal Year 2012 eliminates all funding for public libraries, including those that are part of the Santa Clara County Library District.

"Everyone is welcome to visit and use materials in the Library, regardless of where they live," said Dion Bracco, Chair of the Santa Clara County Library District Joint Powers Authority. "This non-resident fee to enjoy Santa Clara County Library District services is comparable to the average of non-resident fees charged by public libraries nationwide and to what it costs the Santa Clara County Library District per capita to operate the Library."

Visit Santa Clara County Library online at www.santaclaracountylib.org

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