August’s 250-word opinion piece

Should We Borrow or Hire a Novel?

[Redacted]Public Library should cease charging for “borrowing” Adult Popular Fiction (including paperbacks), of $2.00 for up to three weeks. Currently, each book—if constantly on loan for its maximum time allowed—will bring in $104 in its “shelf life” of three years. Multiply that by the number of books in this section!

This is tantamount to changing the function of public libraries from service to income generator. Adults should not have to pay for hiring a fictional novel.

From the RDC Annual Reports for the financial year 2014-5, the District Library failed to reach its performance target measures in all three parts.

  1. The percentage of the population being members of the library for 2014-5 was 59% (target was 60%) a drop of 0.6% against the 2013-4 year
  2. The percentage of households using the library during 2014-5 was 68% (target was 75%), equal to 2013-4; but below 2011-2 and 2012-3
  3. The percentage of residents ‘Very Satisfied’ or ‘Fairly Satisfied’ with the library was 84% (target was 84%)
  4. Another 16% answered ‘Don’t Know’ (does that mean ‘Don’t use it’?). 2014-5 was the same as 2013-4.

I asked our Library five questions to gather statistics, but received no response. Reluctance? Something to hide?
I now use our library when I want nonfiction, as I refuse to pay a fee for what should be a public service. Perhaps a city-wide boycott of Adult Fiction would force a rethink—maybe a change.


The Brief:

Write 200-250 words expressing your opinion about a topic of your choice.                             Have you persuaded your reader to your point of view or call for action?


Appendix: Not as part of the homework writing…
Before writing this, I had been advised that Adult Fiction was $3 for 3 weeks, with “Hot Picks” rented out at $5. This appalled me (hence I cancelled my membership).

Since removing into temporary premises, (and after writing the above) I’ve been advised Adult Fiction is now free to borrow, with “Hot Picks and DVDs hired out at $3, and Magazines hired out at a fee ranging from) 0.50c to $3 (depending on how long ago the magazine was added to the shelf).

See  actual statistics drawn from the [Redacted] District Council Annual Report 2014-2015
page 37

Level of service
Performance measure
Target for 2014/15
Achievement
Comments
Achievement for 2013/14
Library readily accessible to residents and visitors for the purpose of information gathering, education and recreation.
60% of the population are members of the library
60%
59%
Target substantially achieved. …
59.6%
75% of households which have used the library in the last 12 months.*
75%
68%
Same result as the previous financial year, but still at levels below the 2011/12 and 2012/13 financial years. …
68%
85% of residents are very/fairly satisfied with the level of service.
85%
84%
Target substantially achieved with 16% responding with “Don’t Know”.
Of those responding to the survey who had used the library in the last 12 months,97% were satisfied with the service.
81%

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