Champaign library to charge Tolono, Mahomet users $200

Champaign library to charge Tolono, Mahomet users $200

CHAMPAIGN – On a tight budget, library officials are hoping to send some nonresident patrons "back to their home libraries" and lessen the burden on the collection of materials by charging them to check out books in Champaign.

Beginning Nov. 1, residents of the Tolono and Mahomet library districts, who previously were able to use their library cards for free in Champaign, will now be asked to pay $200 annually if they want to continue borrowing items from the Champaign Public Library.

Library Director Marsha Grove said Tolono and Mahomet residents are among the heaviest users of the Champaign library – a situation that has become particularly burdensome on the collection in a tight budget year.

"The major problem is that so many of their (Tolono's and Mahomet's) cardholders are coming here and somewhat using it as their own home library," Grove said.

Mahomet Public Library Director Lynn Schmit said she was disappointed in Champaign's decision, but it will not affect the libraries' relationship.

"We have to take care of our taxpayers, and that's what Champaign has decided they need to do," Schmit said.

Janet Cler, director of the Tolono library, was also disappointed.

"It is an unfortunate situation," she said. "For our patrons, we're here to serve them the best we can."

Cler and Schmit said both of their libraries will continue to serve Champaign cardholders for free.

"We are here to serve the residents of the community, and we have some Champaign cardholders that come down and use our library, and we're fine with that," Cler said.

According to a press release from the Champaign library on Tuesday, Tolono residents borrowed 17 items in Champaign for every 10 they checked out at their own library – a total of 167,259 Champaign materials during the last fiscal year. Mahomet residents checked out eight items in Champaign for every 10 they checked out in Mahomet, a total of 86,050 items.

"It's been going on for a long time, and we decided we needed to restrict those cardholders," Grove said.

The $200 annual fee is based on what an average Champaign homeowner pays in property taxes to support the public library. The special cards will be available for purchase beginning Oct. 4, in advance of the Nov. 1 effective date.

Cardholders of area libraries other than those in Mahomet and Tolono will still be allowed to use their home library cards for free in Champaign. Patrons of the Urbana Free Library, part of the Lincoln Trails Library System that connects many libraries in the region, will be unaffected.

Grove said the library board considered an across-the-board fee for the other cardholders, too, but eventually decided that those users did not have as much of an impact as patrons from Mahomet and Tolono.

The Champaign library also will cut off free deliveries to Mahomet and Tolono. Anyone wishing to check out a book from Champaign's collection via the interlibrary loan system will have to purchase the special Champaign card.

"If we allowed that to go on, it would be even more work for us," Grove said.

Champaign library officials are not sure what to expect before the rule goes into effect – it could add revenue to the library's budget, or "maybe most of the people will just go back and use their home library in Mahomet and Tolono," Grove said.

Kenney Davenport works in Champaign, a 1 1/2-minute drive from the library, but lives in the Mahomet library district. Now 36 years old, he said he has not stepped into the Mahomet library since he was a kid.

"I will not be paying $200 a year to use the library," Davenport said.

Davenport said he checks out music and guitar books and CDs from the Champaign Public Library, and is not confident he will be able to find what he is looking for in Mahomet.

"It's a minute and a half from my office, and obviously it's a lot bigger, they have a coffee shop and it's a nice facility," Davenport said.

Jennifer Price, a Tolono resident, said she uses the Champaign library nearly every week during the winter. She usually goes on Sundays, when the Tolono Public Library is not open.

"I think it's a load of crap," Price said.

She checks out books, video games and CDs from Champaign, and rarely uses the Tolono library. She said she has not yet decided if she will pay $200 for a special Champaign card.

"I thought being part of the Lincoln Trail Libraries System meant you could use your card anywhere," she said. "I don't think it's fair."

Cler said she expects Champaign's decision will bring more residents of the Tolono Public Library district to their own library. She said the library has made several changes during the past year to serve its patrons better, like extending hours, adding a Blu-Ray video collection and setting up an online "virtual library."

"We're continuing to build our resources, and we're in the process of a long-range plan that's been going on for a while now," Cler said.

Mahomet's Schmit said she expects some patrons will be disappointed, "but it's understandable" that Champaign would charge for services as its budget tightens.

"We're going to continue to do what we've done for years, and that's taking care of the needs of our library patrons," Schmit said.

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DEB wrote on September 01, 2010 at 7:09 am

Next up: Urbana. The Urbana Free Library is burdened even more heavily by out of town users. It considered doing something like this a while ago, and perhaps in the current economic setting this is the time to do it.

Much of the burden of both cities is caused by out of towners using facilities paid for by Champaign or Urbana taxpayers. Over half the users of Crystal Lake are from out of town. More than half the use of both libraries is from out of town. More than half the use of our streets is from out of town. Imagine how much nicer things would be if out of towners weren't putting wear and tear on things for which they do not pay.

Many places give local residents cards and auto stickers to allow them free use of the things they support, but charge those who don't pay local taxes. And this usually helps build much nicer facilities. I look forward to a better collection in the Champaign Library now that funds can go to acquisitions. All users will pay to use it, which is what the free market demands. (Wonder if any of the freeloaders are tea-partiers? If so, their hypocrisy is beyond belief.)

dd1961 wrote on September 01, 2010 at 9:09 am

If the out of town users had not used Crystal Lake, it probably would have closed sooner. Now we use UIAC and pay an out of district per use fee. Why couldn't the library have an out of district per book fee?

Nix wrote on September 02, 2010 at 12:09 pm

This war started along time ago when a previous director of Urbana Free Library started treating Urbana patrons preferentially when UFL would not send out "new" materials through interlibrary loan in violation of then current Lincoln Trail policy. He was not called on it by the system, Lincoln Trail.
When Ms. Grove became the director of CPL, she adopted a similar policy on new material interlibrary loan. Since then, more and more libraries are adopting a restrictive policy, one of which is Mattoon Public Library.
The default setting for interlibrary loans is that when a patron places a hold on an item, the patron goes to the top of list for items that the library owns. So preferential treatment is inherent into the interlibrary loan system already.
Which bring me back to Champaign Public Library. CPL has traditionally been a net borrower, which means that borrow more books through interlibrary loan than they loan out. So if they left the Lincoln Trail system, CPL would have trouble serving their patrons needs in-house.
So if you are not happy with CPLs decision, here is the most effective way to let the people who make decisions know. While Ms. Grove is the director of CPL, she is not the boss. Ms. Grove answers to the library board. The board looks to the director for expert advice but the board makes the final decision on policy. So I imagine the Champaign Library Board decided to restrict Tolono and Mahomet patrons on Ms. Groves’s advice. So I advise you to attend the next CPL board meeting, Thursday, September 16, 2010 at 5:30pm, to voice your opinion. To be recognized at the meeting, call (217) 403-2050 and ask to be put on the agenda.
I do not agree with CPLs decisions and the movement in general of the Lincoln Trail member libraries towards preferentially treatment of their own patrons to the exclusion of others. In a time of crisis, people can either band to together and share their resource for the good of all or hoard their own resources to the detriment of all but you own exclusive group. Taking care of your own is deciding not take care of others.
-Eric Rittman

bluegrass wrote on September 01, 2010 at 9:09 am

From what source do you find statistics that say "more than half" of C-U library users and users of city streets are from out of town?

I'm also confused if you live in Urbana or Champaign? You're worried about Crystal Lake Pool and the Urbana Library, but you're looking foward to the "better collection" in the Champaign Library. Could it be that you live in one town, and would dare use the services of another? Oh my word.

amhart wrote on September 01, 2010 at 9:09 am

Those "out of town users" are also shopping, seeing movies, eating in restaurants, buying gas, etc while they are in Champaign. All of those things are taxed.

bbill wrote on September 01, 2010 at 10:09 am

None of those things pay for library service. Property tax payments alone are what keeps libraries running.

acylum wrote on September 01, 2010 at 7:09 am

It's a pretty crappy way to make a few dollars. It's not like these patrons don't have a home library or or live in an area outside a library district. They pay taxes for use of their library and the library system. Champaign is planning to charge them as if they don't pay for the usage of their home library. Why not a lower fee for patrons of other libraries, or a "per checkout" fee of a dollor or two. I am a big user of my library, but there would be no way I'd see the value in $200 paid on top of the taxes I ALREADY pay for my home library. It's extortion.

Mahomet and Tolono library users can request materials to be sent for free to their home libraries. They can continue to use Champaign's library, find what they are looking for, and use the computer to request it shipped to their home library for free. They may have to way a few days, but they can save themselves from being robbed by the money grubbers in the big bad library. In fact, I will start requesting more materials sent to my library that are only available at the Champaign library, and cause the library staff there to spend more hours filling transfer requests.

acylum wrote on September 01, 2010 at 8:09 am

edit: I guess I missed the part of the article where they are cutting free delivery through interlibrary loan to Mahomet and Tolono too. I wonder if they can have materials sent to Urbana? Worth a shot.

urbana1234 wrote on September 01, 2010 at 8:09 am

That won't work, direct from the CPL website.

Can I still reserve Champaign items and pick them up at my home library?
You will not be able to use your Mahomet or Tolono card to put Champaign items on hold.

This isn't a money making measure, libraries are suffering across the country. Read the news. Some restrictions have be put on heavy usage. Being in the Lincoln Trails System cannot be used as an excuse as effectively some patrons have been replacing their home libraries with Champaign. It is simply unfair to those Champaign patrons who pay around $200 on their property tax, if not more.

koffeeking wrote on September 01, 2010 at 8:09 am

Given our current economy, it is important to understand that services like a library take money to maintain. Champaign residents pay for this service through taxes while Tolono and Mahomet residents do not. What is hard to understand about this? It is hard to swallow but it is a fact of life.

amhart wrote on September 01, 2010 at 9:09 am

Mahomet and Tolono residents also pay taxes which support the libraries in their communities. Champaign residents check out books from those collections without paying any fees because they pay taxes in Champaign. That is how an inter-library loan system works.
Even in the best economy no library can afford to keep a complete collection. That is why LTLS, and serves like it all over the country, exists.

bookworm24 wrote on September 01, 2010 at 8:09 am

Thank you for such a wonderful idea! I am a librarian in a small school district with a budget running into the hundreds and we rarely have current titles on the shelf because they are out on inter-library loan to (gasp) Champaign library patrons. Think of all the money I could bring into my school if I started charging those Champaign library patrons.

dd1961 wrote on September 01, 2010 at 8:09 am

Perhaps you should just refuse to loan it out, which is what Champaign is doing.

bookworm24 wrote on September 01, 2010 at 9:09 am

Then this isn't a library.

dd1961 wrote on September 01, 2010 at 9:09 am

Agreed with that! My mother was a librarian, and she had such pride in being able to get books for people through out the Lincoln Trail system. I guess that is no more.

bookworm24 wrote on September 01, 2010 at 9:09 am

And I agree with your original statement about Champaign not sending out books. Many a time I have had a book on request from Champaign for weeks, only to go into the actual library and see it sitting on their shelf. They think they are the engine that runs Lincoln Trail, but they are sorely mistaken. I say it's time Lincoln Trail just booted them out. Champaign library consumes instead of shares.

dd1961 wrote on September 01, 2010 at 8:09 am

I use the library maybe once per semester. So it would not be worth it to pay $200. I would be willing to pay a per book charge instead. I wonder if they considered that?

bookworm wrote on September 03, 2010 at 2:09 pm

Most of their new materials seem to be rentals, so why not just charge a rental fee per item?

jhouse375 wrote on September 01, 2010 at 9:09 am

Next, the Champaign Library will be checking ID's at the door. Tolono and Mahomet residents not allowed.... Mahomet just opened a brand new (larger) library, The numbers the Champaign Library is looking at are from when the old small library was open.

amhart wrote on September 01, 2010 at 9:09 am

"The Champaign library also will cut off free deliveries to Mahomet and Tolono. Anyone wishing to check out a book from Champaign's collection via the interlibrary loan system will have to purchase the special Champaign card."

Isn't this services run by LTLS? If they are unwilling to work with all of the member libraries can they retain their membership?

urbana1234 wrote on September 01, 2010 at 10:09 am

I doubt the membership will be effected. From the CPL website.

"Library systems were designed to have member libraries share with each other so that everyone benefits. When there is a significant imbalance in that mutual lending, a member library can limit access to its own materials. This policy affects only your use of the Champaign library; your home library card can still be used at other system libraries."

Girn Blanston wrote on September 01, 2010 at 9:09 am

Several points:

The Champaign Library has done this for years for people on the edges of Champaign that haven't been incorporated yet (southwest Champaign). We bought all of our children's books at Pages when it was open, and had a nice collection, some of which we later donated to another library system.

I would be very surprised if the libraries true budget were $200 per family in Champaign.

I think both Tolono and Mahomet should institute a $200 per family charge for anyone from Champaign wishing to check out a books for our library system. Fair is fair.

Finally, instead of spending that $200 in Champaign, buy books, enjoy them, and then donate them to Tolono and Mahomet.

I'm never setting foot in the Champaign Library again.

Leighann wrote on September 01, 2010 at 9:09 am

I think what this article fails to address is where the people who have library cards issued by the Tolono library actually live. I bet the majority do not live in Tolono.

Residents of Savoy have been able to get a library card for free in Tolono and use it at the Champaign library. I would be interested to see a study showing where the "Tolono" patrons actually live.

It seems to me that many residents of Savoy want the resources that Champaign offers (bus service, library, etc.) but are not willing to pay their portion of the taxes to help maintain them.

gamera wrote on September 01, 2010 at 3:09 pm

"It seems to me that many residents of Savoy want the resources that Champaign offers (bus service, library, etc.) but are not willing to pay their portion of the taxes to help maintain them."

And there's the kicker. Savoy residents are getting away with not paying their fair share. If you use CPL, then you should pay for the CPL. But...instead, they pay lower taxes to a library they never intend to use and Champaign residents foot the bill. That's freeloading.

If Savoy residents want to use the CPL, then they should talk to their city council about joining the Champaign Library district instead of paying into the Tolono library district.

dd1961 wrote on September 01, 2010 at 3:09 pm

I would not mind paying a out of residence per use fee. For me, that would be far less than 200.00 because I am only an occasional user. Similar to the pools, you can pay standard admission, punch card, or a pass, which is higher for non-resident. Someone who is a frequent user pay the user fee. This also should be for all non-residents, not just two. This also should go two ways, and if the CPL residents need a book from other libraries, they pay a fee.

jbr wrote on September 01, 2010 at 3:09 pm
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Savoy residents paid to have membership in the Lincoln Trail Library System, which meant that we had access to use any LTLS library just like a resident with our own library card. It's not "freeloading", it's how library systems work. Now the policy has changed to allow libraries to limit reciprocal borrowing under certain circumstances.

Gadfly295 wrote on September 01, 2010 at 9:09 am

As a resident, let me say that if there were actually something IN the Tolono library besides paperback legal thrillers and "make old people feel better" religious stuff, other people might use the facility.

bbill wrote on September 01, 2010 at 10:09 am

Have you visited the Tolono Library lately? I was there a couple of weeks ago and they have Blu-Ray DVDs, audiobooks, new adult fiction and nonfiction books. The number of items on the shelf isn't big but I found several things I wanted to check out.

Janet wrote on September 01, 2010 at 9:09 am

This article and discussion made me take out my tax bill, and I pay about $30 less than this fee as a resident taxpayer living in a condo assessed at below the average home price. So it doesn't seem unreasonable to me. Nothing is free, and I'm guessing most in Mahomet can afford it. You live in an area, you get the benefits of that area. You don't, then you pay for them. Residents of Maynard Lake, Rolling Hills, etc., are also assessed fees. I have wondered for a while how the library can afford some of the services it provides. It seems that it can't. We all want stuff that's cheap or free, and imagine that someone else pays. Well, we're all that someone else.

KSearsmith wrote on September 01, 2010 at 10:09 am

Mahomet has just built a gorgeous library, opened earlier this summer on Rt 150, just as you enter town.

I'm sorry that Mahomet residents who have benefited from the Champaign Public Library may find the new fee there prohibitive (the more library access, the better!), but I hope you will begin to use the Mahomet Public Library more extensively and invest in its present and future. The more we invest in the Mahomet Public Library, the more useful and more enjoyable its holdings will become.

To join Friends of the Mahomet Public Library, please contact us through the MPL website. It's just $5 per year for membership and the benefits are knowing you are helping to grow your hometown library. FMPL is also always looking for volunteers for regular library needs as well as special events (you don't need to join to volunteer). We are currently seeking volunteers for our November fun run.

Kelly Searsmith
Secretary, Friends of the Mahomet Public Library

dd1961 wrote on September 01, 2010 at 3:09 pm

Kelly, everytime I try to use the library it does not have the resources I need. It has to be gotten through inter-library loaning. If the library improves in this area I certainly have no problem using it.

KSearsmith wrote on September 02, 2010 at 12:09 am

I agree the Mahomet Public Library's collections are not extensive enough to provide research resources in all areas. And the holdings do need improvement in general, despite some lovely finds there. But I have great confidence in Lynn Schmidt and her staff as curators of the collection. They'll improve it as they have funds to do so. Now that they have adequate facilities in which to work, our community can turn to helping them expand materials on hand. The more we all invest in our library in time and money, the better a resource it will be in our hometown.

Joe American wrote on September 02, 2010 at 3:09 pm

Funny, I've said the same thing about checking out items from the Champaign library for YEARS. Now I see where everything's been going.

bbill wrote on September 01, 2010 at 10:09 am

I think you get what you pay for. If you choose to live in Savoy where your taxes are lower, then those are the services you should receive. With the way the state government is going these days, I wouldn't count on Lincoln Trails being around a lot longer. We had all better get used to visiting just our own home libraries.

ddws wrote on September 01, 2010 at 10:09 am

According to minutes of the Tolono Library system, district residents pay an average of $60 a year in taxes to support the library. Champaign residents pay $200 for their's.

Here’s the policy from Lincoln Trails: "A library which experiences an imbalance as a net lender in reciprocal borrowing may restrict access by the users of those libraries who have created a significant imbalance for the lending library. A significant imbalance is defined as a local library serving less than 60% of local borrower need.”

jbr wrote on September 01, 2010 at 10:09 am
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If you look at the last available annual report, CPL made $5,793,077 from property taxes. If you divide that by the 75,254 served population, you get about $76, which isn't far off.

dd1961 wrote on September 01, 2010 at 12:09 pm

I pay $113 to the library district. It seems CPL is choosing the higher housing costs to base its cost to out of district users. It also seems a hypocrisy to allow its users to borrow from Tolono and Mahomet. It also seems a bit unfair to single out Tolono and Mahomet. We try to use our local library first, but when doing research for papers, because it cannot possibly have all the material needed, we need to go to a bigger library. I would be willing to pay a per book check out fee, but not the 200.00 fee. I hope my daughters teacher's understand when she cannot find references.

peabody wrote on September 01, 2010 at 10:09 am

Way to go, Champaign Public Libr--, er, Champaign Library. Captain Beatty would be pleased with this decision.

bbill wrote on September 01, 2010 at 10:09 am

Oh please, nobody is cutting off library service to these people. Just asking them to use the services of their home libraries.

GoingtoHeck wrote on September 01, 2010 at 12:09 pm

Oh, but they ARE cutting services! CPL will no longer provide requested materials to the libraries in Tolono or Mahomet.

urbana1234 wrote on September 01, 2010 at 1:09 pm

Unless you pay for the library card, there is a choice.

jbr wrote on September 01, 2010 at 10:09 am
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I'm a resident of Savoy, and so I pay into the library system through the Tolono Public Library. The beauty of a library system is that not all communities can (or should) support a large collection that meets the needs of all residents. I feel that CPL's move is a disservice to the community.

Here are some facts, from the Lincoln Trail Library System's policies:
On interlibrary loan policies (which CPL is declaring they will no longer allow):
"Within LTLS libraries shall lend materials on the same basis as they lend materials to their own patrons"
"Libraries may not charge fees for loans of originals to other LTLS libraries"

On reciprocal borrowing:
"Lend to reciprocal borrowers all materials in any format, as generously as
"A library... may restrict access by the users of those libraries who have created a
significant imbalance for the lending library. A significant imbalance is defined as
a local library serving less than 60% of local borrower need."

Yes, Tolono users use the CPL more than their own library, but Tolono users represent a mere 6.7% of the CPL circulation numbers (though they comprise 12% the service population). From the numbers, 38% of Tolono users' needs are met in Tolono... with a collection that's 7% the size of CPL. That doesn't seem unfair.

In Savoy, we are part of the Champaign Unit 4 school district. CPL mentions in their latest annual report that their mission includes "[g]iving all children equal access to support for success in school", but now Savoy kids attending Champaign schools can't use their services. I guess when my daughter's class visits the library or bookmobile she'll have to restrain herself.

CPL is a great library, especially since moving into the new building. Small libraries, like the one in Tolono, can't compare. CPL has almost 13 times as many items in its collection, and has 24 times the annual circulation. Neither the Tolono nor Champaign library is convenient for me to go to, but CPL is better.

I understand their need to make money, and that over 91% of their budget comes from property taxes. The idea of a library system allowing reciprocal borrowing is that for the inconvenience of my drive to the library, you'll let me use your collection. I hope that the Board will consider how this could affect the community.

Additional data from - Champaign - Tolono.

IndigoB wrote on September 01, 2010 at 12:09 pm

It seems fairer to charge the difference between what people are paying in their home library districts and the average Champaign assessment of $200 rather than the total average Champaign assessment or, better yet, to create a sliding scale based on the individual family's financial situation. More complicated, true but considerably less regressive.

bonniedrvr1 wrote on September 01, 2010 at 12:09 pm

The Director of the Champaign Library says she is "taking care" of her taxpayers but is she really? She is making enemies faster than she knows and if those "small out of town" libraries get together and stop sending their items to Champaign patrons then she has done nothing but penalized them. She can not possibly meet all the lending needs of her "taxpayer" thats why her "taxpayers" use the Lincoln Trail Library system and order things from my "small out of town" library. If those resouces dry up then there will be backlash from her "taxpayer" and who will she blame that on. If this woman is so concerned about taking care of her taxpayers someone should ask her what she did with thousands of books that she deemed unsuitable for her brand new Library when it opened......Because she didn't sell them. She will be standing alone if she continues to alienate those surrounding communities who's Libraries that they pay taxes for help support her patrons needs...

cats kradle wrote on September 01, 2010 at 12:09 pm

Wait a minute, those sneaky out-of-towners only have to pay $200 if they check out materials. That means they can still circumvent the system by (gasp!) reading the books to their children without checking them out! I suggest removing the chairs from the children's section to put an end to this racket. And we should check I.D. at the bathrooms and water fountains to make sure that no out-of-towners get away with tapping into our water supply without paying their fair share of the utility bill. Nobody gets to use a public library without paying for it.

bookworm24 wrote on September 01, 2010 at 12:09 pm

Not every library can afford to have every book, DVD, CD, etc... in their collection. CPL included. So we share.

MahometCitizen wrote on September 01, 2010 at 1:09 pm

Do you find it odd that the Lincoln Trail Library System just modified their policies??
These are the minutes from the last board meeting changing the requirements to fit the bill.

I think Mahomet and Tolono should cut off all interlibrary loans with Champaign (non-public) Library.

The article says CPL is removing the interlibrary loans as well.

Mahometmom wrote on September 01, 2010 at 2:09 pm

It seems that if they won't let out of towners come and check out books, the use would go below the 60% cut off and then we could borrow books through the system. Or have they just decided not to be a part of that anymore?

dd1961 wrote on September 01, 2010 at 2:09 pm

People from Tolono or Mahomet district cannot get books from CPL period. Now if you move to Monticello, you still aren't paying taxes to Champaign, but you can borrow books, ditto for Philo, Sidney, Thomasboro, Urbana, and on and on. Seems a bit odd to single two libraries out. The Lincoln Trail system is suppose to help all the libraries in the LTS district, but I guess not anymore.

urgboot wrote on September 01, 2010 at 1:09 pm

I am a Tolono resident who works in downtown Champaign. I use the Champaign Library occasionaly because it has a larger collection and is conveniently located on my way to and from work. Sometimes I'll bring my wife and/or son and we'll spend some time there (and spend some money in the coffee shop, as well).

I don't really have an issue with the choice that Champaign Library is making. They need to support the Champaign residents as best as they can with the budget they have. I am sure there are a myriad of financial and political arguments for and against the new policy, but I don't pay property taxes in Champaign so I figure it's not my place to push one way or the other. At $200, the cost of a CPL card is much greater than the benefit (for me, anyhow) so I won't be purchasing one. Since I won't be using the CPL, I won't be spending $15-20 a month at the coffee shop, either. I am assuming that the CPL decision has fully considered situations like this.

My family and I will be spending more time in the Tolono Library - which is not a bad thing. I like the Tolono Library for a number of reasons - mostly because the folks who work there are super friendly and welcoming. If they don't have what I want, they'll put the powers of inter-library loan to work to find it for me. It takes a bit longer, and is probably a bit more costly to BOTH libraries, but it works. We may take some time to visit some of the other libraries that still welcome us, too, but I think we'll concentrate on trying to support our local library.

I do find it interesting, and a little sad, that when times get tough (as they are), that communities are closing up upon themselves instead of reaching out to one another. But I suppose that taking care of one's own is a natural response to these conditions.

lhamil948 wrote on September 01, 2010 at 2:09 pm

Good points. I get that you want to allow your residents the most access, but have they really stopped to think how much money they will be losing? I'm not a Champaign resident, but I do use the CPL at least once a week. Not only do I use the coffee shop when I'm in there, but I also buy books downstairs in the Friends Bookshop at least a couple times a month. If I'm not able to check out books without being charged a fee, then I won't be spending money in either from now on. The money and material donations I normally split between Champaign and my "home" library will most definetly not be split any longer.

loweez67 wrote on September 01, 2010 at 1:09 pm

Seriously? Who can afford to pay $200 to use the library? It is sad when the economy has to come to this. I find it very sad that so many people will be losing such a great resource.

dd1961 wrote on September 01, 2010 at 2:09 pm

Watch out! Next you cannot take a walk in Champaign parks unless you prove you are a resident!

Joe American wrote on September 02, 2010 at 3:09 pm

Ummmm....the residents of Champaign can?

hewsew wrote on September 01, 2010 at 2:09 pm

I live outside of Champaign. I do not fall into any Library taxing district. We do fall into Mahomet school district and pay high property taxes and we have no children in the Mahomet Seymour School system. We used to be able to pay out of district fees and obtain our card at the Champaign Library. Several years back Champign Library decided they would no longer do this. I then had to go to the Mahomet Library-pay out of district fees there and obtain a library card which I could then use at The Champaign Library. Now I have to obtain a library card at Mahomet paying out of district fees and now turn around and pay an additional 200.00 dollars. I haven't used the Mahomet Library for anything except to obtain a card so I could go to Champaign, Sound pretty convoluted-well it is. And now I won't be putting any money into either one of these facilities.

BS_in_champaign wrote on September 01, 2010 at 2:09 pm

These arguments are absurd!
I am a City of Champaign resident and I just paid my property tax bill; the amount of my taxes that go to support the library are approx $400. The library board faces a choice, cut services that affect all users or increase fees. Do non residents really expect me to pay more so they can continue to receive subsidized services? I am curious, what are the average library taxes paid by residents of Tolono, Savoy, and Mahomet? If I had to vote, I would say that the fee for non residents should be $220 per year - $200 for services and $20 to recoup subisdies for prior years. The bottom line is that if you choose to live in a community with lower taxes, expect lower services and certainly don't expect those of us who do pay the higher taxes to subsidize your desire to have higher services.

bluegrass wrote on September 01, 2010 at 4:09 pm

Every taxing entity is looking to increase revenue, and this is just another way to do it.

I think it would be more appropriate to charge for music and movies though, and perhaps have children's books be free of charge.

A house in Mahomet with as assessed value of around $180k pays roughly $150 to the library district.

Mahometmom wrote on September 01, 2010 at 2:09 pm


John O'Connor wrote on September 01, 2010 at 4:09 pm

How many of the people who live outside of Champaign but want to continue using the library without contributing to it also support the 'tea party' anti tax zealots who protest taxes in a public park, get there on public roads and consume public resources like police and fire protection? Why to they feel so entitled to have others pay for their services?

The inter library loan is a great thing but it is clear that people in some districts have been over using the CPL if less than 60% of their usage was at their home libraries. And paying sales tax does not entitle them to use the library. The sales tax revenue goes to cover the costs of roads, police, fire, parks where people protest taxes and others. As another commenter suggested, perhaps they could lobby their library boards to join the CPL district, pay what Champaign residents pay and have full access.

I just don't understand their sense of entitlement and their demands that we should subsidize them.

Joe American wrote on September 02, 2010 at 2:09 pm

I agree with you on the library thing, but you're dead wrong on the Tea Party facts. Join me for one and then tell me there were tax dollars used for police and fire protection. I've been to them all, and there was ONE police on hand an any of them, and then only to protect the the patriots from those on the other side who would like to disrupt or harm them. Better a cop patrolling the park for a couple hours than a multi-million dollar lawsuit against the city, huh?

John O'Connor wrote on September 02, 2010 at 5:09 pm

Well, I'm glad we can agree on the library tax issue. But, I was at the last protest in Champaign and I know for a fact cops were there because one of the organizers called them on me. She wanted to kick me out of Westside Park because she said they 'rented' it and she didn't like my presence there. Of course, the police captain told her they did not 'rent' the park and that she had no power to kick me out...

mahomet resident wrote on September 01, 2010 at 4:09 pm

A lot of people that live in Mahomet or Tolono own real estate in Champaign or other Lincoln Trail Libraries' taxing districts. If you do, just get a library card through an "acceptable" library.

My how we've come a long way from Andrew Caregie's libraries. One of the four conditions for each library being built was that books were "provide free service for all". He built 3000 libraries. There was no real estate tax qualification. Besides, children don't pay real estate taxes. The overwhelming majority of books being requested are children's books. They conveniently left that out of their report.

Also, if they are so concerned about the real estate taxes, maybe they will ban the U of I students. They use the library extensively. The U of I property is also tax exempt. They don't pay Champaign real estate taxes either. Students that live in the U of I dorms live in untaxed real estate.

John O'Connor wrote on September 01, 2010 at 4:09 pm

These things cost money to run. Do you have a spare couple of billion to donate to fund libraries in perpetuity? Renters, which includes most students, pay the property tax through rent. Students also pay for the U of I library. Do you also feel you should be able to use the university library? Do you feel that you should not have to pay any taxes for services you consume?

Your library district is determined by your residence, not properties you might own. And where do you get your stat that the 'overwhelming majority of books being requested are children's books'? Even if that's true, it's specious. There are children in Champaign too and their parents are paying to contribute to the library.

Why do you feel entitled to use the CPL but feel you don't have to contribute to the cost of maintaining it? I really don't understand that mentality.

bluegrass wrote on September 01, 2010 at 4:09 pm

So a student pays property taxes through rent; but someone who owns a business located in Champaign or owns or building in Champaign but lives outside of town does not?

Can you explain the difference?

Mariya Vandivort wrote on September 01, 2010 at 5:09 pm

If you own property in Champaign but live outside the city limits, you are paying Champaign property taxes and can use the Champaign library. You will need to bring in the tax bill for that property as evidence when you apply for a library card.

John O'Connor wrote on September 01, 2010 at 5:09 pm

Mariya, do you have a link for that info? Do non resident business and property owners pay the same amount to fund the library as residents do? If so, then that's fair enough.

lovie_01 wrote on September 01, 2010 at 5:09 pm

It does state that on the Champaign Library website:
What if I own property, or a business, in Champaign?
Because you’re paying library taxes through your Champaign property tax bill, you are entitled to a free Champaign Public Library card. Just bring us the most recent tax bill for your Champaign property as proof of ownership.

urbana1234 wrote on September 01, 2010 at 5:09 pm

Correct, you can get a "free" card called 'non resident property owner', these cards are normally good for a year and just require the tax bill to renew each year.

John O'Connor wrote on September 01, 2010 at 5:09 pm

Easy -- it's a question of residence. That's how library district membership is determined. Businesses draw on the road system, the bus system, the police, the fire department, and many, many other services and are taxed to pay for them. Business and property owners who live in Champaign pay the same rates and, on top of that, also pay the library fee in their residential property taxes. You seem to be taking the position that you should be able to use the library without paying what the Champaign residents pay.

Again, I really don't understand that sense of entitlement.

lovie_01 wrote on September 01, 2010 at 5:09 pm

I guess where I have the problem is that they singled out these two communities. It seems like there could be a better solution to the problem. I understand your argument, but the Champaign Library borrows books from other libraries also. Also, are you fine with lending books to all the other communities except for these two? Under your reasoning none of the libraries should work together. Why not limit the number of books you can check out with an out of town card or make a policy that is more fair or a more reasonable surcharge?
What about these communities borrowing items increases costs for the library? Do they really expect this to make any difference? There isn't enough detail here for me to fully understand why they are making this decision other than how many books Mahomet and Tolono borrow compared to Champaign. There isn't any comparison about how much this costs, how much the other libraries borrow, how much they borrow, etc, so it just seems really arbitrary and unnecessary to me at this time.

John O'Connor wrote on September 01, 2010 at 5:09 pm

From the CPL website:
'Why does this policy affect Mahomet and Tolono?

We focused on the communities that are the heaviest users of our library, compared to their home libraries. The policy applies only to those libraries whose card holders check out at least 60% as many items at Champaign as they do from their home libraries. Many of their card holders are using Champaign as their primary library, in place of their home library.

Last fiscal year, for every 10 items Mahomet card holders borrowed from their home library, they borrowed close to 8 at Champaign (86,050 Champaign items). For every 10 items Tolono card holders borrowed at home, they borrowed 17 from us (167,259 Champaign items).'

That seems fair to me.

Mahometmom wrote on September 01, 2010 at 11:09 pm

The Mahomet library moved this summer. We were without a library for several weeks, so the numbers may not reflect what is happening now with the new space being open. Additionally, it would be nice if there was an option to 'pay' via volunteer work at the library. If it really is causing the library to have such an extra load to have those from outlying towns check out books, it would be nice to have an option that was not cost prohibitive like either volunteer so many hours or pay the money. Another option would be to have stricter limits, like only two books at a time for those from out of town. It is sad to think we will no longer be able to use the Champaign library. We really enjoyed our experiences there this summer. It was especially great for my dyslexic son who loved the large selection of books on CD. He would get the book and CD and then follow along. Unfortunately, it is not $200 worth of sorrow! Good bye lovely Champaign library.

John O'Connor wrote on September 02, 2010 at 12:09 am

Well, I'm sure the Mahomet library being closed for only two weeks didn't seriously affect the numbers from the entire fiscal year. And the library has a trained staff, I don't know what kind of volunteer work the people of Mahomet and Tolono could do to cover the $200 annual charge. I agree with the other posters who say that we've all made our choices. You pay lower taxes in Mahomet and Tolono; that means you get fewer services. You can't expect to be able to freeload of of us. You could always lobby the appropriate officials to join the CPL district, pay what Champaign residents pay and have full access. Short of that, your options are to use your local library or pay what we pay to use the Champaign library. You say it's not worth $200; that's your choice to make. There is absolutely nothing unfair about that. In addition, you can still use the library and participate in the events and services they offer unless they are restricted to Champaign residents.

I've asked about this before but no one has offered an explanation: why the sense of entitlement? Why do some people think they should be able to use the CPL without paying anything to support it? Why should the residents of Champaign subsidize non residents?

lovie_01 wrote on September 03, 2010 at 9:09 am

I don't understand why you feel that the whole town of Mahomet (or Tolono) have a sense of entitlement? I don't feel entitled to use "your" library, but I am upset about the decision. I do not use the Champaign Library more than my own, I do go there occasionally when I am looking to browse a wider selection or see a book is available there that is not at Mahomet, and sometimes reserve books. I do not feel that that is abusing the policy. I feel that is why the library system is set up that way, so that everyone can benefit. Champaign benefits greatly from this policy, as do all the other libraries in the system. I do not feel like this is the best way to handle the situation, if they wanted people to return to their home libraries. And I do not think they will generate that much extra revenue. I've seen you state this same comment over and over, and it makes me upset because just because someone lives in Mahomet, doesn't mean they are overusing the Champaign Library. And if they wanted this to stop, I feel they could have handled it in a different way. Why should I have to pay $200 a year to check out a few books from Champaign, when others don't? They could set up a limit on the number of books or be more fair about the decision overall. I'm sure there are people in other communities that "overuse" the Champaign library too, but that is not addressed here. So to me I am upset about the overall policy, I don't think it sets a good precedent, and the library system won't work very well if libraries don't share with one another. Honestly, to me, this probably won't be a very big deal, but that doesn't make me any less upset.
Also, Champaign Library (and many others) use many volunteers to help with shelving and pulling books, as well as cleaning and other tasks. Many people complete community service there or just enjoy volunteering.

John O'Connor wrote on September 03, 2010 at 4:09 pm

I never said the "whole towns" of Mahomet or Tolono were taking advantage of the system. I said some people in those districts clearly were, as the number obviously attest. All libraries borrow from all other libraries. That's a separate issue. The problem is that enough people in the M and T districts are using CPL as their de facto home library that it causes a gross, and unfair, imbalance. I don't understand why you won't accept that. The refusal of so many M and T district residents here to acknowledge this obvious fact is why I'm referring to their sense of entitlement. All we're asking you to do is to pay your fair share. What's so wrong with that?

repeteil wrote on September 02, 2010 at 6:09 am

Excellent point! and so true.

Joe American wrote on September 02, 2010 at 2:09 pm

1. I'm not sure what Andrew Caregie's (sic) libraries have to do with this issue, but it's always fun to throw in something irrelevant to make a case.

2. "The overwhelming majority of books being requested are children's books."
Are there hard numbers on this claim?

3. "... maybe they will ban the U of I students. They use the library extensively."
Hardly. The University of Illinois library system is the third largest university library system in the country with over 10 MILLION volumes. Unless a student is looking for the newest Bearenstein Bears release, I highly doubt your claim. And they certainly aren't overusing it, if at all. Oh yeah, numbers please.

danrice56 wrote on September 01, 2010 at 5:09 pm

To the user who said they'd just find materials at Champaign, then request them to be transferred to their home library: Uh uh, ain't gonna happen. It says right in the article that if you want to request books through the interlibrary loan system from Champaign, you'll still need to purchase their 200$ library card (I hope it’s gold plated!) just the same as if you were checking out the materials from the Champaign library directly.
As a Savoy resident and a card carrying Tolono library patron (Whom Champaign obviously views with the same disdain as a card carrying Communist), I have a few options:

1. Use my home library more.
2. Have a friend who lives in Champaign go with me and check out books I want for me.
3. Start using the Urbana free library, which as of yet (knock on wood) doesn’t have this policy. Although they do have a charge, in most cases it should be nowhere near 200$.
4. Have a friend who works for the University check out books for me from the University library. Or, get a courtesy card from the U of I library. I believe this is still free.
5. Suck it up and continue using the Champaign library, if after careful calculations it turns out the cost is still outweighed by the amount of materials I would have had to purchase if I wasn’t able to borrow them from the Champaign library

walkthefrog wrote on September 01, 2010 at 6:09 pm

Everything that is provided for the public needs to be paid for, and starting down the path of deciding which segment of the public is entitled to services and which need to pay additional fees will not have a positive outcome. Is it part of the Lincoln Trail Library System, or is it not? When a board decides to change it's own rules in such a way that it violates the mission, vision and values just to single out two communities, there is a problem. Either you pay or you don't, but don't start subdividing the public unless you are going to do it for all services and make every single one of them pay-as-you-go.

I would suggest that the Lincoln Trail Library System rewrite their mission, vision and values as follows:
Mission - Lincoln Trail Libraries System connects the people of East Central Illinois to information through preferential treatment of certain segments of the public.
Vision - Lincoln Trail Libraries System envisions a future where collaboration between libraries and organizations results in easy access to information anytime, anywhere, except for certain communities that we specify.
The following are the core values for Lincoln Trail Libraries System:
• Democracy
We value every individual's right to explore, learn, and question, but only at their home library.
• Collaboration
We value collaboration between libraries, cultural organizations, and information agencies, but not those in Mahomet or Tolono.
• Intellectual Freedom
We value freedom of access to information for all individuals, provided you drive to the library and don't ask to check out the book.

whatsinitforme wrote on September 01, 2010 at 7:09 pm

My suggestion is to move to Champaign. There are many homes and condos for sale within a mile of the CPL.

barnes102895 wrote on September 01, 2010 at 8:09 pm

I am a Tolono resident and have no problem with this decision as I have never set foot in the Champaign Public Library. My family uses our local library regularly, and our children have never had any problems finding the materials they need. With over 100 other libraries in the Lincoln Trail system, I don't think that this will work a hardship on our residents as far as inter-library loans. I think my neighbors will agree, that we have a wonderful library that is a source of pride to our community and offers a wide variety of services to our residents. Add the resources of the internet and the ever-growing population of e-books online, and I don't think that we will feel any loss with CPL's decision. Good luck to you CPL. We're quite happy to stay home.

Feltrino wrote on September 01, 2010 at 10:09 pm

Many years ago, Mahomet was a blip on the map. Then, someone decided to start developing the community and the next thing you know, people migrated there from places like Champaign. It was close and they had significantly lower taxes. Well, guess what? With lower taxes come sacrifices. As a resident of Champaign, I couldn't be happier with this decision. I pay for the CPL not residents of Mahomet, Tolono, or Savoy. I do. I don't care that you work here, or that the library is only minutes away from your workplace. You don't support the library with your taxes. Every one of you who is complaining about this decision has choices. Use your own library, pay the CPL fees, or move to Champaign if you prefer the benefits of living here.

Instead of complaining about the decision of the CPL, why not focus your efforts on raising taxes in your own community so that your local library can offer comparable services. Imagine how much more in taxes you would have to pay with such a small tax base to replicate the same service as the CPL. Starts to make $200 seem like a small price. Better yet, close the Mahomet and Tolono libraries and give that revenue to the Champaign Public Library. It can only serve to reduce my tax burden.

illiniearl wrote on September 02, 2010 at 2:09 am

Thank you feltrino! Well said. As a Champaign taxpayer, I was very surprised to learn in this article that Tolono and Mahomet residents were using our library for free. That should NEVER had happened in the first place.

dd1961 wrote on September 02, 2010 at 4:09 am

It is called the Lincoln Trail System and all member libraries can get materials from all other member libraries. Or used to anyway for as long as I can remember.

John O'Connor wrote on September 02, 2010 at 9:09 am

As many others have noted, Tolono and Mahomet were way over using the CPL -- Tolono residents checked out almost 8 items from CPL for every 10 they checked out from their own library. The Mahomet ratio was an astounding 17 items from CPL for every item from their own library.

It certainly seems like they have been taking unfair advantage of the system.

Can you explain why you have this sense of entitlement that you feel you feel you shouldn't have to pay taxes to support services you consume and that Champaign residents should subsidize you?

hd2006 wrote on September 02, 2010 at 10:09 am

Its not called entitlement, it's called being part of the Lincoln Trail System. CPL knew what they were getting into when the agreement was made. There was no limits set on how many items would be shared, but now that it is offset and not in CPL's favor they are going to cry foul. Like a little kid that takes their ball and leaves that game because he/she is getting beat.

John O'Connor wrote on September 02, 2010 at 11:09 am

Interesting analogy -- you think it's a competition to see which library's patrons can take better advantage of other libraries? Wow.

As has been noted here and at the CPL website numerous times, the residents of these towns were taking unfair advantage of what was meant to be an equitable sharing arrangement. That is exactly a sense of entitlement.

Joe American wrote on September 02, 2010 at 2:09 pm

....and you knew that you'd be paying less in taxes and housing costs when you CHOSE to live in an outlying area. I like John's idea above about your lobbying to join the CPL system and pay what we pay.

hd2006 wrote on September 02, 2010 at 2:09 pm

I can tell you have never seen the property tax rate in Mahomet!

Joe American wrote on September 02, 2010 at 2:09 pm

Yes, Mahomet is high, but Tolono....ahhhh, not so much.
How much of YOUR tax bill goes to your library???