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Library cards give access

September 11, 2012 - Jodelle Greiner
I was reading an article today on the Associated Press wire about how Los Angeles is considering a plan whereby illegal immigrants could obtain a library card and use it to open bank accounts and get access to city services.

What really threw me for a loop was when I read: “The cards would include a user's name, address and photograph, and would be issued through the city's libraries. They would cost applicants $15 to $20, and could include a monthly fee of up to $2.99.”

Library cards that cost $15 to $20! And have a monthly fee!

(Give me a minute to pick my jaw up and recover my powers of speech.)

(Okay, give me another minute. I’m having a problem with this.)

You have to PAY for a library card in California?

I thought the whole point of having public libraries was to provide access to books and other literature for everyone — that they had equal opportunity, regardless of economic status.

To make sure I wasn’t losing my mind, I contacted Heidi Schutt, director of the Muir Public Library in Winnebago, and Eva Gaydon, director of the Blue Earth Community Library, both part of the Traverse des Sioux library system. Both directors said library cards are free. (It’s only if you need a replacement card that you have to pay for it. That’s fair, I think; it teaches you responsibility.)

I hope libraries around here never charge for cards, and access to library services stays free. Otherwise, it’s just not right.


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