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Cost of reading on the rise: Local libraries upping fees

Libraries in Washington County have voted to increase fines for overdue materials and some fees for services at its libraries in Jonesborough and Gray.
The move is a response to three years of flat funding levels, coupled with increasing costs of doing business.
“This is a move that the Library Board and library administration took very reluctantly, but as with every business, we are facing increasing cost for supplies, library materials and services,” said Pat Beard, library director. “The Board and administration felt that trying to increase revenue in this way would be preferable to the alternative of cutting of services. The library has had flat budgets for the last three years.
“We have been absorbing inflationary increases by trimming back and finding donations to cover our shortfall. This year, not only are costs still increasing, the library is facing a cut in funding.”
Effective Friday, July 15, fines for most overdue materials that were borrowed after July 1 will change from 10 cents per day to 15 cents per day. Fines for video materials will remain at $1 per day. In addition, interlibrary loan items that have been borrowed from outside the Northeast Tennessee region will accrue fines at the rate of $1 per day.
The library has also added a fine of 50 cents per item for patrons who repeatedly fail to pick up items requested on interlibrary loan.
Two fees have also changed. Meeting room fees and processing fees for lost or damaged items have increased. Those fees are based on several factors and are not always the same amount.
For more information, call the Jonesborough library at 753-1800 or the Gray library at 477-1550.