Letter to the Editor

Former library director provides answer to recent question

Sunday, August 16, 2009

To the Editor:

This is why non-residents have to pay a fee in order to check out materials of the library.

First of all, the Brazil Public Library is in fact free to all who want to use the materials. Anyone can come into the library during regular business hours and use the materials therein.

But only taxpayers of Brazil City and Brazil Township can check materials out of the library.

In California and many other states, everyone in the state pays taxes to support library services.

In Indiana, it is up to each governmental unit. Many counties (like Vigo County and Putnam County) have chosen to provide library service to the whole county through a library tax.

In other counties, one or more townships and or cities have chosen to tax their residents to provide library service.

In Clay County, only Brazil City and Brazil Township have chosen to pay for library service through a tax levy. Attempts have been made over the years to extend service to the whole county, but so far, the county residents have declined to add a library tax levy to support such a service.

It costs money to run a library.

New materials are expensive, trained staff members are expensive, upkeep is expensive. Considering the cost of a single hardback book, a single magazine subscription, a current encyclopedia, etc., anyone who uses the library can easily recoup the taxes or non-resident fee.

Library service at $25 a year is a bargain.

But anyone who can't afford that can still avail themselves of library materials at no charge simply by using those materials within the library.

The library staff works hard to provide quality service to everyone who enters the library.

They should be commended for the services provided for free, not criticized for limiting check-out privileges to city and township residents. Without the taxpayers, there would be no library at all.

Everything the government provides "for free" has to be paid for by somebody, mostly the taxpayers.

The more you ask one group to pay for another group, the more people are going to decide to switch groups or to move away until there aren't enough people left in the paying group and the service is eliminated.

Judy Proctor,

Brazil Library Director (1977-89)