Vast Active Library and Information Science blog. From a recent library science graduate in Wellington, New Zealand. A focus on reference and current awareness tools and issues, especially free, web-based resources.

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Thursday, April 01, 2004
US library charging for net access, not a popular move  
"Bloomfield's may be the first public library in the nation to charge library card holders for the Internet, national library officials said.

News of the new policy sparked reactions of surprise, outrage and sympathy from residents, local libraries directors and national advocacy groups.

Library officials said the $1 fee is necessary to offset its increasing computer costs, which are estimated at about $12,000 a year. "

I'm showing total naivety here, but I was under the impression that New Zealand libraries charged for internet access. I could be totally wrong - I don't (and never have) worked in a public library, and I've never needed to use one to get online. I guess this becomes a question of what's a core service - what is something that users have a legitimate expectation of being able to access without charge?

I think it's hard to argue that internet access doesn't fall into this category, now. Especially when so many governments are moving to make the internet their main point of contact with citizens. And I presume they aren't charging patrons to borrow books in order to offset acquisition costs. So why is the net different?

Via Techdirt from the Star-Ledger (New Jersey).


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