Friday, January 15, 2010

"Life's a freeway, but it ain't free"

So, sometimes I’ve asked “If the name of the library is the Saranac Lake Free Library, why do I have to pay fines?”

Well, to quote the Greencards (a new-grass bluegrass group) “life’s a freeway, but it ain’t free”.

When you receive a library card from the SLFL or borrow a book or other item from the library you have agreed to a number of things: first, that you’ll return the item in the same condition that you borrowed it and second, that you will return it on the agreed upon date. That is the date stamped. It is possible to renew some items. The most notable exceptions are the 7-Day books and the DVDs or VHS tapes. All of these items are in high demand and others are usually waiting to read or view them. So they cannot be renewed. But almost everything else can be renewed. You can do this by visiting our website, (you’ll need your library card number and PIN number), calling the library at 891-4190, or by bringing the item into the library. There are a limited number of times you can renew books, audio books or magazines.

So why do we have fines? The fines are a reminder. They also place a value on the item and on the service that allows us all to borrow things from the library. And as I often tell our patrons as they settle up: “You are in excellent company”. The “Free” in SLFL refers to the fact that we do not charge admission or user fees when you borrow SLFL items or
use some of our services. You can read the books and magazines without having to purchase them. You can view the movies without having to buy a ticket. You can listen to the audio books without having to pay anything. We have a number of computers that are connected to the internet and are available to the public without a charge. And we can help with reference questions to answer or locate specific information without a cost. These items and services are all free to the public. They do have a value. And they do have a cost. But the SLFL does not pass that direct cost on to our patrons at the point of service. We do it for free.

See you at the library.

1 comment:

  1. "Free " is a term that is used to designate a library that was chartered by an assocaition of individual citizens, rather than a "Public" library that was formed by the school district or municipality. We all are chartered by NYS and have to meet certain requirements as libraries, but association libraries are membership organizations and have mulitple funding streams. SLFL goes out to the tax payers via the school budget vote to ask for a portion of its annual budget. We are gratified by the positve response of the voters.