SANTA CLARA COUNTY, CALIF. – In response to dramatic reductions in State funding and an increasing demand for library services, on Thursday the Santa Clara County Library District Joint Powers Authority approved an $80 annual library card fee for non-residents of the District, effective July 1, 2011.
Since 1988, the State has reimbursed public libraries for lending materials to non-residents of their district, and any resident of California could get a card at any public library in the state. Demands for service have increased to a point that the Santa Clara County Library District lends far more books to non-residents than District residents borrow from other libraries. At one time, the Library received over $2 million annually to partially reimburse the cost of this service.
In the midst of an increasing deficit, the Governor’s proposed budget includes the elimination of $30.4 million in state funding for three of California’s most valuable public library programs: The Public Library Foundation, the California Literacy Program and the Transaction Based Reimbursement, a cooperative system of borrowing and loaning books that has existed statewide for several decades. The State Budget for Fiscal Year 2012 eliminates all funding for public libraries, including those that are part of the Santa Clara County Library District.
“We know how popular and valuable the Santa Clara County Library District services and programs are, but we have to have the funding to continue to offer them to non-residents,” said County of Santa Clara Supervisor Liz Kniss, Delegate to the Santa Clara County Library District Joint Powers Authority. “An annual fee for non-residents will extend County Library privileges to them, including access to an impressive collection of materials and resources. There will continue to be no fee for residents of the Library District.”
Out of the current 356,107 Santa Clara County Library District cardholders, 202,559 are residents of the District. The remaining 153,548 or 43 percent of all cardholders do not reside in the Library District. Without the reimbursement from the State for serving non-residents of the Library District, the Santa Clara County Library District Joint Powers Authority concluded that charging an annual fee for service is justified.
To be eligible for a Santa Clara County Library District card, people must reside in one of the nine cities that belong to Santa Clara County Library District Joint Powers Authority: Campbell, Cupertino, Gilroy, Los Altos, Los Altos Hills, Milpitas, Monte Sereno, Morgan Hill, Saratoga or in the unincorporated areas of Santa Clara County. People living in the cities of Los Gatos, Mountain View, Palo Alto, San José, Santa Clara and Sunnyvale will continue to have access to their city libraries at no cost to them, and they will have the choice to purchase a County Library District card as a value-added service. The benefit of having a County Library card is that an individual or family may borrow up to 100 items at a time, per card from District libraries.
“Rather than cutting services to tax-paying residents, the fair choice is to charge an annual fee to non-residents who benefit from the Library District.” said Melinda Cervantes, Santa Clara County Librarian.
“Everyone is welcome to visit and use materials in the Library, regardless of where they live,” said Dion Bracco, Chair of the Santa Clara County Library District Joint Powers Authority. “This non-resident fee to enjoy Santa Clara County Library District services is comparable to the average of non-resident fees charged by public libraries nationwide and to what it costs the Santa Clara County Library District per capita to operate the Library.”
Santa Clara County Library collection includes 1.8 million books, videos, CDs, DVDs, audiobooks, ebooks and extensive online resources that users can access from home or work.
About the Santa Clara County Library
Established by the County Board of Supervisors in 1914, the Santa Clara County Library District serves residents of Campbell, Cupertino, Gilroy, Los Altos, Los Altos Hills, Milpitas, Monte Sereno, Morgan Hill, Saratoga and the unincorporated area of Santa Clara County. It also includes two bookmobiles and an online library. In 2010, the Library loaned over 12 million items to 3.8 million visitors.
Santa Clara County Library is one of the top 100 libraries in the United States. For eleven years, it has ranked as one of the best in the nation for its size by Hennen’s American Public Library Ratings which uses 15 different benchmark measures such as collections, circulation, visits and customer service. Also recognized as one of America’s 2010 Star Libraries by Library Journal and with more than 3.8 million visits each year, Santa Clara County Library is one of the most-used public resources in the region. Visit Santa Clara County Library online at www.sccl.org.
Santa Clara County Library District Service Area Map
Media Contact: Gwendolyn Mitchell/Marina Hinestrosa, Office of Public Affairs, (408) 299-5119; Melinda Cervantes/Derek Wolfgram, Santa Clara County Library (408) 293-2326 ext. 3001/3002
Posted: April 29, 2011