Champaign library will charge Mahomet, Tolono patrons

Champaign library will charge Mahomet, Tolono patrons

From a Champaign Public Library press release:

Starting November 1, library patrons with cards from the Mahomet and Tolono public libraries will need to purchase a Champaign library card to check out materials from the Champaign Public Library.


Cards will be available for an annual fee of $200, approximately equal to the annual library tax paid by the owners of an average Champaign home, as part of their property tax.

Right now, those patrons can check out Champaign materials for free with a Mahomet or Tolono library card. The change comes as a result of a tight library budget, and the fee is based on what an average Champaign homeowner pays in property taxes to support the library.

I'll have more details later, but I'd like to talk to cardholders from the Mahomet or Tolono libraries to see how they feel about this change. If you are not a resident of Champaign, how frequently do you use and what materials do you check out from the Champaign Public Library? If you fall into this category, please e-mail me or call 217-351-5370.

If you are a resident from Champaign, how do you feel about the rule change?

Questions or comments? Please feel encouraged to post them below, e-mail me or send me a message on Twitter.

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Patrick Wade wrote on August 31, 2010 at 5:08 pm
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I've already gotten four e-mails responding to this post, all negative. Here are some snippets:

"I wouldn't pay $50 a year to use the Champaign library let alone $200." -Kenney

"I live it Tolono and we use the Champaign library quite a bit. I am not sure how much more we will attend once they start charging us. I think that is a bunch of BS!"

"I am very upset by this recent development. I am a long time resident (30years) of Tolono and very frankly their library and their staff is not up to par. ... I buy all of my goods and services in Champaign and or Urbana and I feel that I pay enough in taxes." -Sherri

"I am an adult student and often use the library for research. This makes me sad as no longer will I use the library." -jddebolt

Thanks for your comments. I always welcome your feedback and hope to hear more.

John O'Connor wrote on August 31, 2010 at 6:08 pm

They're upset that they're not getting a freebie anymore? Why do they think they should be able to use the library when they don't pay anything to contribute to it? They may pay some sales tax if they shop here, but that goes to roads, police, fire, the public park where the anti tax zealots protest each year, etc...

Talk about a sense of entitlement.

hd2006 wrote on August 31, 2010 at 11:08 pm

I see no problem with charging people that do not live in the city a fee. However the article stated that homeowners pay the fee through their property taxes. How about the thousands that do not own a home but live in apartments or other types of rentals. They are not paying property taxes,
the actual owner of the house or complex does. Do these renters or non property tax payers have to pay the 200 bucks?

repeteil wrote on September 01, 2010 at 6:09 am

People who live in the Tolono Library district do pay taxes to the Tolono Library system which entitles them to use the Champaign Library since it is part of the Library System. How can Champaign charge them an extra tax? Is this fair? In my thoughts this is not fair. They over spent remodeling the library and now the tax payer is at their mercy. When are they ever going to learn that big is not always better.

pjpatterson wrote on September 02, 2010 at 11:09 am

Because Champaign is part of the Lincoln Trails library system, I don't see this move as being particularly cooperative or helpful to anyone. While I see they quote that more non-residents are using the library than before, I am not entirely sure how this is directly attributable to cost. If zero non-residents came from today forward, how much cost savings would the library actually enjoy? Libraries are provided by taxes because they server the public need, which is not usually limited to the people that pay those taxes. As a resident of Savoy, I don't expect to start paying a fee everytime I drive down First Street because my local taxes aren't specifically paying for those pothole repairs, either. If who pays was really a concern, they should take the money from sales taxes or parking rather than property taxes.

On the other hand, non-residents do pay more for Champaign Park District programs, so charging extra for non-tax payers does have precedence. I just think they should have given it a little more thought. I didn't see any accomodations for families that may not be able to afford $200, which I think is very unfortunate. I also think a monthly subscription basis might have been more managable to many families, rather than hitting people up with yet another new cost they hadn't budgetted for. For my part, I probably will pay the fee because we do enjoy the library, and I for one am glad they rebuilt it - they did a very nice job. But I don't really think this is in the spirit of a public library.

fflkommish wrote on September 02, 2010 at 11:09 am

I understand what Champaign is trying to do - they don't want Champaign taxpayers to subsidize some surrounding library district that really doesn't have a collection adequate for its needs. But Mahomet just spent a lot of money and dramatically increased the size of its library. The timing of this policy won't give anyone a chance to see if the new building changes the stats.