Library Board to vote on proposed reciprocal agreement
The Seattle Public Library board of trustees will vote on a revised reciprocal service agreement with the King County Library System at its next meeting, scheduled for 4:30 p.m. Thursday, June 22, Central Library, 1000 Fourth Ave., Washington Mutual Foundation Meeting Room 1, Level 4.
Library cardholders from The Seattle Public Library and King County Library System currently have unlimited access to all resources from either system.
The new agreement was needed because a joint 2005 study showed 6.1 percent of King County Library System users were from The Seattle Public Library. This imbalance is valued at approximately $1 million.
At a meeting on May 10, The Seattle Public Library board of trustees stated it did not have the resources to pay the King County Library System $1 million. Taking $1 million from The Seattle Public Library budget would be the equivalent of closing the entire system one day each week, or cutting the book budget by 30 percent. This would not be acceptable or feasible for Seattle patrons, Seattle library trustees said.
In order to forestall an outright end to the reciprocal borrowing agreement, the King County Library board of trustees recently proposed the following terms:
- The Seattle Public Library would continue to pay King County Library System $104,000 annually, even though this amount has now been show to represent only a portion of the actual imbalance.
- King County and Seattle residents would continue to have access to both systems. Henceforth, however, Seattle patrons would no longer be permitted to place holds on King County's materials (an activity that contributes significantly to the cross-use imbalance).
- The two systems would continue to monitor cross-use of library services and will revisit the reciprocal borrowing agreement again in early 2008.
If approved by The Seattle Public Library board of trustees at its June meeting, the new agreement would take effect Oct. 1, 2006.
The Seattle Public Library board of trustees acknowledged that cross-use of the King County Library System for Seattle cardholders would be less convenient, but that the current agreement unfairly burdens residents of the King County Library system's taxing district. Seattle residents are not taxed through this district.
Funding for The Seattle Public Library is allocated out of the city of Seattle's general fund and determined through the city budget process. The Library budget is set each year amidst many other competing city priorities, such as police and fire services.
For more information contact:
Andra Addison, communications director
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