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Produced & Maintained by Idaho Mountain Express, Box 1013, Ketchum, ID 83340-1013 
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Copyright 2003 Express Publishing Inc.
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For the week of January 7 - 13, 2004

Opinion Column

Increases in Hailey Library non-Resident fees explained

Guest opinion by Ann Tabler

Ann Tabler is director of the Hailey Public Library

America's tax-supported public libraries are unique and the envy of much of the rest of the world. Access to information, education, entertainment and culture for every citizen is virtually unheard of in most other countries.

Currently, the citizens of Hailey invest over $300,000 each year through taxes to provide themselves and their families with exceptional library services. No funds are received from the county, state or federal government to support the Hailey Public Library.

Residents of the City of Hailey are entitled to receive a free library card because of their tax support. The Board of Trustees of the Hailey Public Library has authorized permission for those not living within the city limits to belong to the library by paying a non-resident membership fee for a library card and the privileges that accompany it. As stewards of the services paid for by city taxpayers, we cannot provide free services to people who have not paid for them.

Nonresident fees for library services are based on how much the average taxpayer pays to support the library. The current cost of library service is $50 per household per year. Under newly adopted options, nonresidents may choose to purchase six months of library service for $27.50 or three months of service for $15. While you may always use most resources of the Hailey Public Library without a valid library card, you will not be allowed to check out library materials, utilize the Computer Lab, or request InterLibrary Loans.

The cost of nonresident membership may seem like a lot of money but comparisons may help put it in perspective. The average cost of a book is $33.57. A one-year subscription to Time magazine is $61.88. An evening out for a family of four at a fast food restaurant and the movies costs at least $60. A Hailey Public Library card costs only 14 cents per household per day. What this means for members is access to a collection which includes approximately 30,000 items, including books, audio books on CD and cassette, videos in VHS and DVD formats, and computer access including the internet. The Hailey Public Library is also a paying member of the LYNX Consortium of libraries which includes Twin Falls Public Library, Boise Public Library, Ada Community Library, Caldwell Public Library, Eagle Public Library, Meridian Library District, Nampa Public Library, and Garden City Public Library. A Hailey Public Library card gives a member access to the materials of all those libraries either in person, or through InterLibrary Loans. This means access to over one million pieces of library materials. When put into perspective, the cost for a Hailey Public Library card is an incredible bargain.

To apply for a library membership, you must bring in a photo ID and current proof of physical address. Examples of this are a current utility bill or tax statement or deed of property ownership or lease. What determines residency is physical address, not mailing address. If you are in question, the Hailey City offices can tell you if your address is within city limits. Also, fee waiver forms for people in financial hardship are available at the front desk and will be submitted to the Library Board at the next regular meeting for their decision.

The Hailey Public Library welcomes everyone to visit the library and hopes many will choose to become library members. Libraries really do change lives.



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