Non-Resident Cards?

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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10 Responses to “Non-Resident Cards?”

  1. Jean Says:

    From what I can tell, KDL is support by a 10 year .88 mill tax on all residents of KDL-covered areas. I live in Thornapple Township, in a house that has a taxable valuation of $113,000. .88 mills would be $100. I would happily pay $100/year for a KDL card. As far as moving, when we moved here I checked into library coverage and was told that the TK card would allow me to use a KDL library exactly as if I had a KDL card. That was true 10 years ago but services began eroding and now the most important service to me, requesting current bestseller ‘books on tape’ or any books on tape is no longer available. Us old-timers should have grandfathered services.

  2. City Dwelling Book Lover Says:

    I think a lot of the hard feelings being posted here are due to the fact that people don’t understand how each of the 3 SEPERATE library systems that make up the Lakeland Cooperative are funded. It’s all about PROPERTY taxes, not the taxes you pay for county services. KDL is NOT a county library and has not been a “county library” for almost 16 years!

    If you live inside the city borders of Grand Rapids as I do, you are automatically part of the Grand Rapids Public Library system and you are taxed (in perpetuity) on your property tax bill for THAT library system only. If you live in Cascade, East Grand Rapids, Grandville or any of the small townships in Kent county you are part of the KDL library system and you support THOSE specific, individual libraries via millage dollars collected exclusively from your property taxes in THAT specific community.

    People…please read your PROPERTY tax bill to see which library you are ACTUALLY pay for before complaining about library elitism! Then be grateful, as I am, that you live in a progressive, library loving community that allows you RECIPROCAL “guest” use of your library card at other branches NOT receiving your property tax dollars!!

    I too, am very bummed that the state of Michigan can no longer bear the cost of transporting books between three library systems. That being said, I hope voters will realize they cannot continue to deny their own HOME library the millage renewals or millage increases they ask for and then wonder why their home library doesn’t look like KDL.

  3. Steve Says:

    I understand that you need to make budget cuts, but what pointed out in a earlier post still holds true: it’s going to end up costing more money to ship materials to a library out in the boondocks (in my case the Northeast Ottawa library)than it would be to ship the items to a more centralized library, ie Walker KDL. This decision, I’m afraid is going to backfire.

  4. Kathy Jones Says:

    I wonder why I received KDL letter for donation when you say I am not
    in KDL library district. I agree cost is the bottom line, I would gladly
    pay a fee for a KDL card each year. Why can’t there be a pick up for
    people willing to drive to a center that holds your books for you???

  5. Jennifer Says:

    I am a little confused now after this post. I have a GRPL card. Can I still put items on hold at KDL if it is delivered to a KDL library?

  6. jvanderploeg (KDL) Says:


    With a GRPL card, you will not be able to place holds on KDL or other Lakeland Library Cooperative materials. You will be able to check out materials that are on the shelf at those libraries.

  7. Tom Adams Says:

    I am a KDL card holder and I am very happy that GRPL is not making us KDL card holders “suffer.” From my understanding, KDL and LL Card holders canstill use GRPL the same exact way. I was a little bit bothered by the line “The ability to place holds on thousands of book titles (except for Grand Rapids residents due to GRPL’s separate catalog).”
    We can just go to their catalog and place holds even though I have a KDL. I dont think GRPL patrons can’t place holds on KDL materials because of GRPL’s new catalog. I think it is because KDL/LLC doesnt want them to(“to save money”). I usnserstand some people are upset about the new Evergreen catalog but their not looking at the big picture.

  8. Sad Says:

    I appreciate Tom Adam’s point. The nature of relationship between KDL and GRPL Services has been interchangeable for many, many years. (Much longer than the KDL/Lakeland association.) In fact, both libraries would issue the other’s cards whenever someone moved across the boundaries and the card was up for renewal. Moreover, as previously pointed out, GRPL and KDL services will no longer be equally interchangeable, i.e. KDL cardholders can still log into the GRPL, place holds, and pickup the holds at any of the local GRPL branches while GRPL cardholders will no longer be able to log in to KDL’s system, order books, and request delivery to a local KDL branch. It does seem easy to blame GRPL for leaving the system… as opposed to trying to come up with some possible creative solutions to allow GRPL and other non-KDL pay for non resident cards or charge them to place holds, etc, etc.

    To those who emphasize that GRPL cardholders ”still” have the ability to use the KLD Libraries. It is very much appreciated… but please realize the situation becomes restrictive for many book lovers.

    For instance, a GRPL patron cannot put a book on hold on any book (old or new) that is already physically at the local KDL library. And by the time one gets to the local library, it may or may not be there.

    Another scenario may be that a GRPL patron is reading a series. The patron wants the fifth book in a series of six and it is not at the local KDL branch. It may not be housed at that KDL branch or it may never show up at the local branch again.

    And of course, there are the students (and others) who want to do research. Maybe material will be there locally and maybe it will not.

    On a more personal note, I read a lot of non-fiction (which is not always in demand). Sometimes, I read a non-fiction book before the demand kicks in. The book may be idly sitting on the local library shelf. Again, unless I am headed straight for the library, there is no guarantee that it will be there when I arrive. Which makes me wonder… am I allowed to check out a new book (less than six months) if it is on the shelf? How about an express book?

    Bottom line, it’s “hit” or miss” for GRPL patrons. And unless you “live” at the library, it’s frequently going to be “miss“.

    At the very least, it seems like GRPL cardholders could be allowed to place a hold at the location where the book resides. Better yet, confine GRPL patrons to transfer books only within the KDL system. Or consider charging us for transfers.

  9. Morgan (KDL) Says:

    In regards to the question of checking out new and/or Express books – yes, you can still walk in to any KDL branch with your GRPL card and check out items in-house. This includes audio visual materials as well.

  10. Andrew Says:

    part of the reason for these requests would be the notice posted by the Allendale Library stating that Tallmadge residents have the following options: “Purchase non-resident cards to the library you use (note: if you use more than one library, a card would have to be purchased at each library).”

    So, correct me if I am wrong, but have we been offered such a nonexistant option?