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Non-Resident Cards?

Friday, June 11th, 2010

Since the announcement (and subsequent post) regarding the Lakeland Library Cooperative’s policy changes, we have received many comments on our blog wondering why non-KDL residents cannot purchase an annual fee-based KDL card.   Several people have mentioned that we might actually generate revenue by offering an annual fee-based card. While this seems to be a simple solution, there are many underlying factors to consider.

Because of declining property tax values and state funding, KDL no longer has the resources necessary to provide full library services to non-residents. An annual fee for full service would cost more than most people have indicated that they would be willing to pay. The overhead and staffing issues caused by  managing an annual fee-based service is also a consideration. KDL cardholders support the Kent District Library with their property taxes based upon a millage they approved. This KDL millage is separate from the county taxes that all Kent County residents pay. Kent District Library gets no funding from the County of Kent. We are not set up at this time to contract with individuals.

However, the services we still offer to all customers, regardless of where they live, include:

• The ability to place holds on thousands of book titles (except for Grand Rapids residents due to GRPL’s separate catalog)
• The ability to check out materials that are on the shelf from any KDL branch location
• Free programs for children, teens, and adults
• Free public PC and WiFi access
• Use of the AskKDL online reference service

We appreciate all the positive comments regarding Kent District Library’s collections and services.  We hope that financial support for all libraries improves in the future.  This can only happen if you let your local and state government officials know how important library service is to you. 

Thank you,

Martha Esch
Library Director, Kent District Library

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Re: Holds Policy Update

Thursday, June 3rd, 2010

We understand that many people have questions about the upcoming changes implemented by the Lakeland Library Cooperative (LLC).  We hope the following helps to address some of your concerns:

Q: Do these changes mean that I can’t use KDL branches any more if I’m not a KDL resident?
A: You are welcome to visit and borrow materials from KDL branches.  The changes only apply to placing holds through the catalog. 

Q: Why can’t I purchase a non-resident card if I don’t live in the KDL service area?
A: KDL does not contract with individuals for library services by providing non-resident cards for many reasons including administrative overhead costs and the impact on library resources.  Kent District Library provides service for 26 local municipalities in Kent County through a district-wide tax millage.

Q: How will these changes save money?
A: The primary goal of these changes is to reduce the number of items that have to be transported between libraries through the Lakeland Library Cooperative delivery system.  By placing limits on high-demand items such as new books and AV materials, the Cooperative hopes to reduce delivery volume and save money on transportation and sorting costs. The need to reduce these costs comes primarily in response to drastic budget cuts at the state level.

Q: How does this affect me as a KDL (or non-KDL) resident in terms of placing holds?
A: Please refer to this guide to determine how this policy will affect you.

While we would like to support library users outside of our service area, our primary responsibility is to the Kent District Library patrons who support KDL through their taxes.  Like all libraries throughout the state, Kent District Library is facing budget challenges as revenue declines due to falling tax values.  We understand that these changes will make the library less convenient to use for some people.  We encourage all library supporters to communicate with elected officials to encourage continued library funding.

Thank you,

Martha Esch
Library Director, Kent District Library

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