By FRANK PHILLIPS
The Brazil Public Library is raising its non-resident card fee effective Sept. 1.
The new rate will be $20 per household for a three-month membership, $20 per household for a year membership for persons age 65 and older and $55 per year for a household membership for all others who do not own property in the City of Brazil or Brazil Township. This fee has not been raised since 2000.
The current fee is $15 per household for a three-month membership, $15 per household for a year membership for persons age 65 and older and $45 per year for a household membership for all others who do not own property in Brazil or Brazil Township.
According to a press release from the library, a Gallup poll indicates two out of three Americans own library cards and use them. Nearly 90 percent of those surveyed believe libraries will continue to be necessary despite the growing availability of computers, 81 percent of library visitors borrow books, 65 percent consult with a librarian, 61 percent use reference materials, 50 percent read newspapers or magazines, 32 percent borrow CDs or videos, 30 percent use a computer and 17 percent access the Internet.
In explaining the need for a fee increase, the press release from the library states, "The State of Indiana establishes the non-resident fee by law IC 20-14-2-8 and 20-14-7-1.2. It requires the non-resident fee to be the maximum of the total operating expenditure per capita in the latest published 'Statistics of Indiana Public Libraries (2002).'
"Setting the fee is part of the library laws and following all state laws is a requirement to meet standards for public libraries. If Brazil Public Library does not comply with the laws set forth by the state, the library will not be able to receive any state or federal funds. The library depends on these funds to keep and expand all offered services to the community."
The release goes on to state, "If Brazil Public Library was a countywide library system, all residents living within Clay County would be taxed for the library. Currently, taxes are only being collected from Brazil City and Brazil Township residents. Clay County is only one of 12 counties left in the State of Indiana to not have countywide library systems."