Riverside Regional Library ends user fees

Monday, August 4, 2008

As part of a continuing effort to make the Riverside Regional Library more accessible to the families in Southeast Missouri, the library board of trustees unanimously approved eliminating the annual user fee required of certain residents.

Anyone who lives in Cape Girardeau, Perry or Scott counties, or any adjacent Missouri county, may get a Riverside Regional Library card at no charge. A photo ID and documentation showing residence or property ownership in an eligible county is necessary for the card. People who live outside of the counties will be charged $24 a year. No refunds will be given for any user fees that were paid before July 25.

"I am delighted with this decision," library director Nancy Howland said. "The board members agreed that this rule, started in 1996, was not serving the public well. Public libraries should be free and open. The model was the Kansas City Public Library, which recently began allowing any Missouri resident to get a free library card. A recent survey done by Riverside showed that the user fee was hindering a lot of people, from teenagers to older adults, from using the library, and that's just not the original philosophy of free public libraries. I hope many people will take advantage of this new ruling and come to Riverside."

Under the previous policy, the library charged $24 a year to anyone who lived within the service areas of Cape Girardeau Public Library, Jackson Public Library, Sikeston Public Library, Chaffee Public Library or anywhere else outside the Riverside service area to check out books, movies, magazines, etc. from Riverside Regional Library.

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