Is this true for your library?

I’ve seen comments floating around on some Facebook posts where people not from the US are saying their libraries cost a subscription fee (monthly/yearly) and I’m seriously dumbfounded at this because libraries are supposed to be free (to an extent). Is this true for your library?

Like, with the one I work at, if you’re out of state or out of country, you can get a library card at a price (25 dollars) but it’s a single fee. There’s no yearly or monthly fee you have to do. So it’s like… if you live in a town that has a library, you should be able to get a library card for free… :thinking: And like, within the US, this isn’t a normal thing at all. I’ve lived all over the country and have had library cards in many states, and have never heard of paying for a library card or paying to use a “library membership.” It sounds like a scam.

And like, yes, you do have to pay for certain things such as faxing, printing, or other types of services. Some libraries still have overdue fees, though others (like my own) doesn’t have it anymore. With mine, the main things you pay for are not only faxing and printing, but damages to books and meeting room spaces (which can cost up to 50 dollars, depending if you’re non-profit or government, which is ten dollars and free, respectfully). Otherwise, it’s free to use a computer (all you need is your library card, and if you don’t have one, we have guest passes which all we need then is your ID). We have a free notary and we have free programs for adults, kids, and teens.

In other words: libraries are supposed to be free to use. So then, why would there be libraries needing you to pay for a card to check stuff out or to use the computer? It’s a complete rip-off. I can understand some libraries being really strict, like for a library card, needing multiple addresses with your names on them, but this is very different from paying for their services…


Wow… for once it’s the American’s doing something right. That hardly ever happens.
Seriously tho, I want to know if this is true too. What countries are charging people for library use?


Hahaha, I know right? xD

SAME. It sounds so ridiculous! The point of a library is to get free books! Not pay for them!


I mean, I guess a subscription/membership would be cheaper in the long run than buying all the books you want to read, but still… It should totally be free.


Well in the UK public libraries are free. Most public archives are free as well, maybe you’ll have to pay for a day-photographing license which is like a fiver.

There’s an annual subscription if you’re a member of public using university library services over a long period of time :man_shrugging: which is fair imo.

And then there are the independent libraries. Some of them are free to use, others require just an access fee to enter and use, others have annual memberships that cost anywhere between £10 - £500. They run a lot of programs for the community, some of them are like really gorgeous too. The membership might be cheaper and worthwhile to someone or a household that spends a ton on buying books each year. That money you pay the library is going to good use instead of hedge funds.

Anyway I don’t recommend paying for private or independent library memberships, unless you really really need it and want to get involved. Support your public library!


Most libraries in the US are government run but there would also be specialized libraries and archives for certain fields of study that would require a subscription.


In Calgary, we had to pay until a few years ago. It was money well-spent. Now it’s free thanks to a huge private fund.


Well, University is different. That is an autonomous institution’s library.


True. I just don’t agree with gatekeeping academic journals and texts from the public. It’s expensive trying to get your hands on them without institutional access. Most university libraries do have free access for the public and borrowing limits up to a point — like 5 free visits a year or something so that’s nice.


Agreed. Journals are the worst, unless they give access online.


I have two library cards because I moved into a different library “region” and I didn’t have to pay for either. I agree that most libraries and information in general should be free for everyone. It’s a stupid capitalist money-grab to hide things like academic studies behind paywalls.

However, I think the reason that some library’s charge subscription or registration fees, even though it’s against the point of a public library, is that we simple don’t receive enough funding. I mean, just considering the cost of collection upkeep alone is a lot. You have to pay for new, relevant books, pay to repair books, pay someone to weed and reshelf, pay for subscriptions to magazines, journals, computer programs. A $25 library card would pay for, like, 1 hardcover. Never mind all the other stuff a public library is responsible for that also costs money.

It’s ridiculous, but it’s probably more the government’s fault than the library’s.


Which is why I keep this tip on mind: if the Wall Street Journal (newspaper) wants to come up in Google searches, it has to not block access when googled. So, you copy the title before the thing pops up and put that in a Google search and voila!

It may work for other blocked access articles, so try around.


That’s really interesting. I know there are “private” libraries that are independently run that may need fees in order to keep running since they’re not government backed but I haven’t heard of a private library being the only place for someone to access books. Typically private libraries would have rarer books that would warrant the use of a subscription but this is really interesting