Proposed Myrtle Beach budget includes $125 fee for library subscription -Really?

via The Sun News:

Myrtle Beach residents could have to pay a membership fee to use the Chapin Memorial Library if the City Council approves recommendations made Sunday night by city staff at their annual budget retreat.

City Council members did not make any decisions Sunday, and will discuss options throughout the remainder of the retreat – which ends on Tuesday afternoon – and continue to discuss when they return to Myrtle Beach. A budget ordinance must be approved by the end of June.

Subscription libraries is nothing new however, according to Wikipedia, "In the United States the earliest subscription libraries date back to the 18th century, when societies or groups of individuals joined to purchase books for a commonly run library. The Library Company of Philadelphia in Philadelphia, PA was the first of these libraries, started in 1731 by Benjamin Franklin."

But still $125 fee!?!?

The Chapin Memorial Library already charges non-Myrtle Beach residents a fee. Currently the fee is $20 a year for Horry County Residents and $8.00 for 90 Day visitors card. 

It is true that libraries are, like most old media, dying slowly; however, there are still a great deal of people where libraries are the only access to entertainment, learning, and computers. 

The city needs to figure this mess out, and not with a subscription fee to the library. Maybe have it be closed on Monday's? Maybe sell the Whispering Pines Golf Course, which, according to the article is losing $250K annually. Maybe not build a $10 million dollar performing arts center if we can't afford to keep the library doors open without a subscription fee? Maybe hand Chapin over to Horry County? Maybe raise property taxes? But that would sort of make the promise of the penny tax a moot point...Maybe not waste money on out-of-town retreats to talk about the budget.

Either way...

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Did you read that libraries

Did you read that libraries are "slowly dying" on Wikipedia as well? Chapin is a city library, which is actually kind of rare, and there are 10 libraries in Horry County that offer inter-library loan, not to mention CCU and HGTC that offer services to the public. According to American Library Development, 1600-1899 by Elizabeth W. Stone (an actual citation), public libraries weren't a reality until the Boston Public Library opened in 1854 (158) and were a direct result of universal education and a more literate population. Honestly, if you don't use it, you lose it. Kind of like those information literacy skills you may or may not have acquired in high school and freshman year of college.

I too am all for more money

I too am all for more money to the libraries -from city run to county- however, a $125 fee would kill Chapin. Wouldn't be hard to raise the money needed to keep the doors open if they raised property taxes, it would probably be less than $100 per home/land owner.

I don't believe there is

I don't believe there is anything wrong with the citation of Wikipedia in this case -or for that matter any of the cases we do so here at TheDigitel. The subject of what a subscription library is isn't really a debated topic, is it? As for "slowly dying", yes. Sure there is one article about libraries evolving a bit but the need to go out of ones home for all the world's information is quickly going by the wayside. However, there is a need for them and there always will be. City Libraries are not rare...New York, Boston, Seattle, Salt Lake City...those are city library systems, not county or state.

As it states above, my personal issue is the $125 fee. If the city wants to run a library, then that's fine, run a library, if they want to kill a library, charge $125 fee. People would just roam Barnes & Noble and spend the $125 on coffee.