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ERIC Number: EJ926003
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2010-Sep-15
Pages: 4
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 0
ISSN: ISSN-0363-0277
Survey on Fees for Library Services: For Love or Money
Dempsey, Beth
Library Journal, v135 n15 p20-23 Sep 2010
Public libraries are walking a tightrope. They are a free service to all, but increasing funding cuts have some libraries turning to a wide variety of revenue-generation strategies to ensure financial security. Gift and coffee shops, meeting room rentals, classes, and more are being launched in hopes of filling funding gaps. In fact, in a recent survey by "Library Journal" more than 40 percent of 408 respondents say they feel pressure to reimagine even such core services as interlibrary loan (ILL) and holds as fee services. And there's the rub: discussion with librarians and analysis of results show that revenue generation that actually generates revenue is elusive, and, in fact, such activities can often drain resources. While these programs can help change the perception of the library, even increase goodwill (like the cafe), they are no panacea for funding dilemmas. Budget issues are not going away any time soon, if ever. Governing bodies, whether they are boards or city councils, expect libraries to hold up their end in finding innovative ways to stretch (or earn) dollars. Patrons want coffee with their library experience. The challenge is in tracking down the elusive mix of fee-based services that deliver more than they take away. As is the case with so many library issues, while there's no single answer or magic formula, there is an effective way to chart the best path: combine deep understanding of the strengths of the library with equally rich knowledge of the unique environment of the community it serves. Analysis of community needs also feeds the other side of the budget equation: cost-cutting. If income production isn't in the cards for libraries, trimming costs is the most logical backup plan. A library uniquely suited to its community can be the beginning of a virtuous circle: the library reflects its understanding of the community; the community gets what it wants from the library and supports it. It may not be the end of the funding dilemma, but it could ensure that public libraries prevail as institutions of and for their communities.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A