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.
Library Director, Kent District Library
Posted by: Martha Esch