Library Disappointment

In posting, I am hoping for a slew of sympathy comments, however, I have a feeling I may just get a lot of “spoiled suburban brat” comments. I was really excited today when I went to the main branch of the Detroit Public Library. I eagerly waited in one line, only to be redirected 20 feet to another desk . . . not a problem because I was going to have a library card soon. As I reached the end of the second line I was pointed to two piles of paper, one with a 4 page leaflet and the other an application form. After learning that I was not allowed to bathe at the library and that I could possess a knife with a blade less than 3 inches long provided it wasn’t a stiletto-style knife I hastily glossed over the fees section to wait in yet another line. I finally got my not so nice looking card, but I had it . . . nothing could stop me now . . . until I went to sign out my videos (yes I still use a VCR). They charge $2 for every 3 days of rental . . . at a PUBLIC LIBRARY. In the suburbs I used the library because I was too poor to buy and/or rent books and films. I find rental fees at a library very upsetting, but I suppose I shouldn’t scoff at a non-profit trying to make money . . . looks like books on tape will have to satisfy my multi-media needs.

6 Comments so far

  1. Phil Renaud (unregistered) on March 29th, 2006 @ 5:58 pm

    Ah, that does kind of suck; just be happy they aren’t at the point of charging you for taking a library book out yet, I guess.

  2. Tyler (unregistered) on March 29th, 2006 @ 10:43 pm

    “but I suppose I shouldn’t scoff at a non-profit trying to make money…”

    It does take money to maintain a library and get the newest multimedia.

  3. Jonathan (unregistered) on March 30th, 2006 @ 9:12 am

    It does take money to run a library, but that doesn’t stop me from feeling ripped off when I get charged for materials. We pay taxes to support library purchases, so it means you get asessed twice. I use two libraries in suburban Detroit that don’t charge for materials. That said, they don’t have Detroit’s budget issues – maybe special times call for having to pay for videos, but that still puts the burden on those least able to afford it, Detroit residents. So it’s not fair, but it’s not going anywhere either.

  4. Mollika* (unregistered) on March 30th, 2006 @ 4:38 pm

    Much of the library is also supported through private donation. This makes me much less likely to donate, since I feel like I already am through rental fees. I have a suspicion that these rental fees barely make up for the wagest of the people staffing the desk let alone the electronic materials. So, if you’re closer to the library than Blockbuster, I would suggest the library.

  5. Tom (unregistered) on April 3rd, 2006 @ 8:08 am

    I live next to the Main branch of the DPL and was fairly impressed with selection of scholarly journals and publications on economics and urban studies. However, the rest of the library is kind of blah.

    My girlfriend noted the other day that John King Books out on Lafayette is more impressive than the main branch of the DPL.

  6. Biblioidiotecque (unregistered) on April 6th, 2006 @ 2:51 pm

    Just a note, it’s not that uncommon for libraries to charge for certain multimedia items like videos. They have a higher theft rate, so charging a nominal fee helps maintain an “insurance” pool of funds, and it also deters the casual irresponsible user from checking them out and never returning them by paying up front.

    It’s not unlike a user fee at park: your taxes cover the basic operations of the park but your entry covers your use and the maintenance that goes along with it.

    The library is greatly underfunded, as contrasted with some more fortunate suburban libraries that have dedicated millages and strong donations. So keep using the library, and hound your legislators and councilpersons to better fund it!

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