From WILL - News Headlines -

Lincoln Trail Libraries System Nixes Champaign Library Non-Resident Fee

The Lincoln Trail Library System says Champaign's library may no longer charge out of town residents a $200 fee to check out materials.

The head of the system says she understands why Champaign's library started charging the fee for residents of Mahomet and Tolono last fall. Champaign library Director Marsha Grove said reciprocal borrowing had become much higher through patrons from neighboring towns than in Champaign and Urbana. Last year, the library lent 700,000 items through the Lincoln Trial system, while Champaign -Urbana residents borrowed about 200-thousand.

Grove said the plan was to evaluate the fee after six months, and the library is sticking to it.

"The board and I will very carefully look at the all the facets of this, and do so, as we have always done, with our primary concern of serving our residents right here in Champaign," Grove said. "That's what we want to do well."

But Lincoln Trail Director Jan Ison said she's surprised to hear the Champaign Public Library board would wait about a month before deciding whether to waive that fee, and she said residents of rural towns still pay taxes for library services.

"They are not non-residents in a legal sense," Ison said. "A non-resident would live outside of any tax-supported public library. And so the residents of Tolono and Mahomet, of those library districts, do pay taxes. Now, those taxes may not be as great as Champaign's tax, which is one of the reasons the board understands that they should perhaps be restricted."

Libraries in the Lincoln Trail system are allowed to limit the items a non-resident patron can check out to five, but Ison called the special use fee 'unacceptable' to both the Lincoln Trail System and Illinois State Library.

The Lincoln trial board said libraries that continue to charge the fee could lose their reciprocal borrowing privileges. Ison said the idea is get Tolono and Mahomet patrons using their local libraries more often.

But no decisions are expected soon. Neither the Champaign Library Board nor the Lincoln Trail Library board will meet until the 3rd week of May.

Categories: Economics, Government, Politics