Borrowing changes ahead at library

Starting on October 15th, The Seattle Public Library is changing its borrowing policy and adding/changing fines and fees to some items.

The number of items you can check out will drop from 100 to 50. In order to check out anymore books you must not have more than 50 library items. The number of holds is also dropping to 25. “Cardholders won’t lose unfilled holds, but won’t be able to place more holds until the total is below 25,” according to the bookmark being handed out. If you want to borrow a book from a different library system, it will cost five dollars. This fee does not apply to items owned by SPL. Items designated for kids twelve and under will start accruing late fees. Daily fines will be fifteen cents per day per item.

The SPL board of trustees revised their policy (.pdf) to “address the high demand for limited library books and other items during tough
economic times, continue to provide quality service with a constrained budget, maximize the circulation of books and other items for all customers and bring borrowing limits and fees in line with other library systems.”

Last month the entire library system took a week-long furlough to help with budget cuts. (Thanks Peggy for the tip!)

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All sounds perfectly reasonable to me.

Sherbet99
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Sherbet99

The only change that is problematic for me is that the hold limit is <25. Unless I'm one of the first in line to place a hold, the wait is often months for popular books/CDs/movies, so that twenty-five fills up very quickly.

Still, I don't have the money to purchase them myself, so I really can't complain.

Randolph
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Randolph

$5/book for inter-library loans? That's very hard on people like writers and artists who do research and don't have an academic affiliation. This is a fee imposed on a politically weak and not particularly well-to-do group which, nonetheless, is very much part of the city's character.

jesse
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jesse

I agree, but on the flip side, we'll all be waiting less for items because we'll all be using holds more strategically.

Sherbet99
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Sherbet99

I hadn't thought of that, Jesse. I'm pretty judicious about what I place on hold (partly because the SPL search feature can be very cumbersome) and I had a tough time deciding what items to delete.

However, I really don't get why this costs the library more money. Is there that much labor needed to maintain lists on their computer system? I'll feel better about the whole thing if it really does require extra labor.

rideshark
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rideshark

It's not a labor savings, it's a materials budget savings. If there are fewer holds placed on items and fewer items checked out, fewer copies of popular titles will need to be purchased. It probably won't have a large impact, but every little bit helps.

Bark more, Wag Less
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Bark more, Wag Less

So I'm supposed to subsidize your hobby?

Tutu
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Tutu

As I read the blurb on holds, it isn't the number of holds on an item that will be limited, rather the number of items a borrower may place holds on.

http://www.spl.org/pdfs/material_loan_change.pdf

kg
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kg

If you give a gift of $100/year to UW libraries you get a UW library card, a great option if you are doing more the 20 inter-library loans a year.

cdb8956
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cdb8956

The new hold limit refers to the number of items each borrower may have on hold in their account at any one time which is being reduced from 100 to 25. There is no limit to the number of holds which may be placed on any book,CD,DVD etc.I don't think the library is arguing that the cost of placing holds (if there is one) is prohibitive. It's the perceived costs that result from the holds that are an issue.They have a policy of buying more of any one item that has a certain number of holds placed on it. Fewer holds per person will translate into fewer holds period. The transportation costs of moving all of these materials around is an expense and apparently lots of holds never get picked up.I understand that cost savings are needed but limiting the number of holds doesn't really solve the specific problems and really harms the people who use the library the most. I'd like to see the library implement a couple of different changes. First, don't buy additional materials just because there are lots of holds. I don't mind waiting longer for an item. I just want to get in line. Reduce… Read more »

Randolph
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Randolph

Yeah, but you don't get ILL privs with that card (I checked), so that doesn't help.

gurple
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Stream everything. Lend out e-book readers to those who can't afford them.

OK, we're 10-15 years away from that technology being good and cheap and adopted to the extent that you could do away with book-lending, but it's going to happen sooner or later.

When the e-books take over (which I'm not excited about, but it's inevitable), we'll have these marvelous buildings to use for gathering spaces for all kinds of events. Or to let fall unconscionably into neglect and disrepair. Whichever.

Randolph
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Randolph

You're supposed to support small business in Seattle, at least unless you want to live in a very poor and unpleasant city. Most “new economy” small business, as well as most pro writers and artists, depend on the libraries for research. This is an additional expense to put on them, and it's already an expensive state to run a small business in.

Randolph
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Randolph

Nonsense. There's huge amounts of material that will never be in e-media.

gurple
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Sure. But the demand for it among the general public will fall off a cliff.

rob3rt
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rob3rt

No Gurp,

Lets just cancel the contracts, and not build some more bombers, and bombs.
Then we'll have more than enough money for libraries.

oh, if it only that easy. . .

Crabbalina Crabbypants
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Crabbalina Crabbypants

As a librarian (not for SPL)I have to put in my 2 cents. Often other loaning libraries charge a fee for the use of their materials. This is on top of what it costs to ship the book. Should taxpayers have to pay for someone's interlibrary loans? Coughing up $5 is a lot less than what it actually costs the system. Be thankful.

And don't forget to return your library books on time. (PSA)

Randolph
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Randolph

From there it's a step to, “Why should taxpayers pay for libraries at all?” Given that privatization of other public services has been a consistent failure, I do not find that argument credible.

The public library service is provided because we, as a city, agreed that it was a benefit to us as a city. The inter-library loan service is valuable to many small businesses: “new economy” firms, writers, and artists, all important parts of Seattle's culture. I don't want to live in a poor and unpleasant city. What about you?

boardbrown
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boardbrown

Why don't we charge the bums a fee for bathing in the restrooms? It'll probably generate more revenue than all the other fines combined.

pioggia
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pioggia

I beleive that Seattle already either passes along the fees, or refuses to borrow books from institutions that charge for ILL, and I have no problem with that, but $5 apiece fee when there is no such cost is awfully high. I don't mind so much for books that are truly hard to locate, but honestly some of the time I'm just trying to find a current/in print book that Seattle can't afford to (or doesn't want to) purchase for it's own collection. Given all the budget cuts I expect the library will be purchasing fewer & fewer books out of the mainstream, which makes a service like ILL even more necessary.

As randolph said, there are a lot of us who do research without working for a university that this is going to hurt…

sdrake1958
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sdrake1958

More nattering neighbobs on display right here. And many want government run health-care too? Better do some checking to find out just who's paying taxes and who is not. I love watching all the pissing and moaning though. I want I want. Wait, I demand I demand. Could this attitude be due to many figuring out they too are getting gouged and want their's? The waste in government is a shame. Besides, just who in THE hell runs this entire state????????? Who's controlled Olympia for 30 some years? Stupid liberals

rob3rt
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rob3rt

<The waste in government is a shame.>

How about a $600 toilet cover?
Reagan said it was “fair and reasonable”.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Toilet_seat

TheRaven
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TheRaven

Yeah! It's the poor's fault! Gotta make those poor people pay more!

We corvids are circling…croak!

marigold
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marigold

I regularily check out DVDs and CDs from the library. I just brought back Mad Men Season 2 yesterday! I place holds for stuff like this, but never have more than a few holds cooking at a time. We'll see how this change impacts wait time. But I remain unconcerned. I like the surprise email I get telling me to come on down for my free entertainment!

Meanwhile, on my Birthday, I donate $100 to the Library beacuse I am just tickled with how great they are.

You can donate too, if it's right for your budget: http://www.spl.org/default.asp?pageID=about_sup

gurple
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“Neighbobs”? Hee hee hee.

<tosses mane, flicks tail, stamps hooves>