Yuba County Library considers Internet access fee
Feb 15, 2013 (Appeal-Democrat - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) --
Yuba County Library in Marysville is looking at charging people to use computers for Internet access after the county library advisory commission asked for a review.
"We're looking at ways to generate income," Sandeep Sidhu, library administrative supervisor, said Thursday.
She said some other libraries charge such a fee for people who have no library card or are out of state.
Kevin Mallen, community development director for Yuba County and interim library services director, said the staff will report back to the five-member library commission at its April 4 meeting about what other libraries may charge.
He said the commission request followed his report this month to the panel that another tough fiscal year looms.
"It all comes down to funding to maintain services," said Mallen.
Mallen said the library has 30 computers that can be accessed free for two hours a day. The commission wanted to know about options that include charging people after two hours, he said.
Such computer use is a popular service at the library and a fee for access is only under review, Mallen added. "There's no immediate plan to do that," he said.
Charissa McClain, a library commission member, said the panel is interested in how other libraries handle computer access.
"We really did not discuss whether any of us favor the fee," McClain said. "What we want to know is what do other libraries do."
"It's always wise to take a look at what other organizations are doing," she said.
Steve Lim, service coordinator at the main branch of the Sutter County Library in Yuba City, said computer users are not charged a fee and the library doesn't plan to do so.
The prospect of such a charge didn't fly with people using the computers Thursday at the public library in Marysville.
Elaine Gutierrez, 22, was doing her taxes and said the region's weak economy didn't warrant a charge to access the Internet.
Marysville resident Jim Rogers, 43, said he was surprised by the library's review and that the free Internet access is a good resource.
Yuba City resident Anmol Dhillon, 20, a student at Yuba College, doesn't welcome a fee.
"I don't like it," he said. "I come in here because it's quiet and free."
The report about what fees other libraries may charge for computer access to the Internet will go before the Yuba County Library Advisory Commission when it meets at 4 p.m. April 4 at the library in Marysville.
Charissa McClain, who serves on the advisory panel, said the opinion of computer users at the library is paramount.
"The residents' input is the most important," she said.
-- Ryan McCarthy
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