You Get What You Pay For

Today, we had a non-resident who was a little upset (and understandably so) that we charge a $50 annual fee for a library card if you don’t live in our service area, which happens to be one of the largest counties in America. It’s a county so big it is actually bigger than some states.

The person in question already went through and selected some materials for check out before hearing the bad news. I had them leave the stuff with me so we can put it away for them. Just out of curiosity, I added up the costs of the materials, as if they were to buy them from a book store.

It came to $48.36. If one added on sales tax, then it’d have been over $50.

This was just a handful of items. Nowhere near the limit we allow patrons to check out. They could’ve had much more and, for fifty bucks, they could’ve come back over and over again for a year and gotten more and more and more. As long as they returned stuff on time, they’d have paid not a dime more for the rest of the year.

Sometimes, I really wonder if people understand basic math.


  1. I think people don’t realize how little they pay for library service. I have always fantasized a reply to “my taxes pay your salary” with a “here is your $3 back, have a nice day!”

  2. Indeed. Their taxes also paid for the police cars down at the station. Why not go down, hop in one, and take it out for a spin? I hear they have a really whiz engine and who can resist those lights and sirens? I mean, people just get the hell out of your way when you have those on.

    I’m sure the police won’t mind. After all, your taxes not only paid for those cars but they also pay the salary of the police too!

  3. You can now refer them to the new Johnson City Library. (if I got the name right. ;)) Our latest affiliate of sorts and in Pinal County. lol

  4. A coworker and I were talking about this yesterday and calculated that our nonresident yearly fee ($40 – we’re in Pinal County) rounds up to 11 cents a day. 11 cents a day for books, DVDs, wifi access, computers, databases, etc… and just a few cents more in your case. Seems like a fair price to me.

    1. Thanks so much for chiming in, Megan!

      I know there’s a case of sticker shock when someone first hears about the price, and believe me, I wish there were something I could do about it. Still, given the cost of actually buying the materials, it works out to be a pretty decent price. The politics involved with the whole non-resident thing are pretty lousy, but there’s not a lot we can do about that. It’s up to the taxpayers and residents of both counties to bring change to the situation.

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