UPDATE: If you’re revisiting, scroll down to the bottom of the post for the complete non-response.

Those of you who aren’t local will have to forgive me as I use this blog to protest. But the situation here is probably being reproduced elsewhere in the country, thanks to budget cuts–and if anyone out there has any advice for me, I’d be most happy to hear it.

Today, I received this email from the library I have been using for my entire life. (Tiny bit of background: Charles City County, my home, has never had a library; just a bookmobile. The Williamsburg Regional Library, within the city limits, is our only local library.)


New WRL Library Card Policy

The Williamsburg Regional Library Board of Trustees recently approved a new library card policy that may affect your borrowing privileges.

Beginning February 1, 2011 only residents of the City of Williamsburg, James City County and York County will be issued WRL library cards.

As of that date the library will stop honoring all cards previously issued to those not residing in the above locations.

Non-residents of the City of Williamsburg, James City County and York County may continue to:
Use the Williamsburg Regional Library’s materials in-house
Ask library staff members for help
Attend events in both library buildings
Use public computers.
Questions? Contact library director John Moorman at: 757-259-7777 or [email protected]

Here is my response. Whether it will do any good, I have no idea.

Mr. Moorman,

I am absolutely appalled–and angry–to learn of the library’s new policy.

I have lived in Charles City County for most of my life. I teach literature and writing at William and Mary and have four children. As you may know, we have no permanent library in Charles City, and my children had read their way through the entire “collection” here by the time they were in middle school.

I have been using the Williamsburg Public Library myself since 1973, and have used it for my children for the last nineteen years. Those of us who live in Charles City, particularly on the eastern end (over an hour away from the Richmond library) have nowhere else to go. We have always considered WRL our public library, and have supported it in every possible manner. I am on a first-name basis with the children’s librarians, who have watched my children grow from preschool through university age, and who have always welcomed us warmly into the stacks. I, my husband, my children, and my parents all hold library cards and make regular use of them.

It was bad enough when the Board of Trustees decided to limit the reference and checkout services to non-county residents, but we coped with this change (unhappily, I might add). But now I learn that my family’s library cards–all eight of them–will become completely invalid on February 1.

To cut off library services to Charles City residents is shortsighted and ungrateful. It takes no notice of the contribution that those of us who don’t happen to live within the city limits make to the intellectual and educational life of Williamsburg.

It doesn’t even make financial sense. I work in Williamsburg. I shop in Williamsburg, which means I pay local taxes. I pay library fines, I have donated to the library, I have given books to the library. I am a published author whose books are STOCKED in the library. Yet as of February, I will be deprived of any use of the institution I have supported for most of my life.

Apparently there is no way for me to have any voice in this matter. I was not allowed to comment; my input was not solicited. I don’t know how to appeal, or what steps to take next. All I know is that a huge part of our lives–the library that we have been visiting weekly for two decades, the library that I have been using for forty years–is being taken away from us.

The last time I was in the library–last week–I checked out three books for my ten-year-old daughter that I had read myself at the age of ten. Not just the titles, but the SAME BOOKS from the same library. I passed them on to her with delight. It never occurred to me that this tradition would come to an abrupt end.

I would appreciate an answer from you.

Thank you for your time,

Susan Wise Bauer
Member of the faculty, English Department, College of William and Mary
Owner and publisher, Peace Hill Press (http://www.peacehillpress.com)
Author of The Well-Trained Mind, The Well-Educated Mind, The History of the Ancient World, and The History of the Medieval World, all published by W. W. Norton and purchased by the Williamsburg Regional Library.

ADDENDUM: So after sending my letter, I got this back.

Susan Wise Bauer:

I thank you for your e-mail expressing your concern about the recent decision of the Board of Trustees of the Williamsburg Regional Library to limit library card holding privileges to residents, business or property owners in a city or county that funds the Williamsburg Regional Library effective February 1, 2011. I fully understand your concern.

As indicated in my memo to non-residents of the City of Williamsburg, James City County and York County the reason for this action by the Board of Trustees was the realization that;”to sustain financial support the library must restrict its circulation privileges to users who live in localities that directly fund the Williamsburg Regional Library.”

Although as a resident of Charles City County after February 1, 2011 you and your family will not be able to check out materials from Williamsburg Regional Library locations you may still use library materials in-house, ask library staff members for help, attend events in both library buildings and use public computers.

Again, I thank you for your e-mail. As a resident of Charles City County you and your family have full access to the programs and services of the Heritage Public Library with permanent locations in both Charles City County and New Kent County. I encourage you to make use of these facilities and work with library staff to provide the services and programs you desire.

Sincerely yours,

John A. Moorman

To which I answered:

Actually I was hoping for something more than a form response.


Really, if you’re going to send a form letter, you can do a little better than just repeating the press release.

Weirdly, a friend of mine who also wrote a heartfelt protest got back the same form letter, EXCEPT that hers (and not mine) included the following paragraph:

As public library service is a function of government and provided for by government funds it is not available for purchase by individuals . It is paid for by the governments providing this service. Therefore memberships will not be available for non-residents.

Which is just stupid.

Showing 48 comments
  • Susan in TX

    Good luck in your campaign! Here, out of city residents pay an annual fee, something like $75 to use the library. In your case, though, where you’ve had privileges for years, this seems over-the-top ridiculous.

  • Rachel

    That is very short-sighted of them. Even the local libraries here in the Richmond area allow adjoining counties a reciprocal agreement where they can become members. And if you dont live here you can pay and still get access to the books.
    It might even be worthwhile talking to the local news networks and getting the word out that way. Often a public outcry can really help.

  • Susan

    Susan, I’d be MORE than happy to pay an annual fee, but we’re not even being given that option. I am perplexed. And very, very sad.

  • Sarah Park

    Oh, sad, sad day! What are they *thinking*?! Thank you for writing that letter, Susan.

    This past June, just after moving back to Charles City, I trooped into the children’s section with my three girls in tow. They were ecstatic, because we were about to sign up for the summer reading program. BUT — we were informed that we were not permitted to do so, due to the fact that we were not Williamsburg residents. Needless to say, the girls were crushed.

    This new development is much, much worse.

  • AmyR

    That is horrible! Our family lives in a Virgina county with a very small library [one! for the entire county!!] and, thankfully, have use of the Jefferson-Madison Regional library system as a courtesy to adjoining counties. Over the past year, however, there have been some small changes involving finances, and I fear limiting the library to only those within the counties [Albemarle, Nelson and Lousia] is next on their list.

    I second Rachel’s idea of going to the local media and stirring up some coverage. And all Virginians should be aware that if it “works” in Williamsburg, *their* library system may be next on the list!

  • Justin

    Mel and I are going to write to the library today. Our next letters will be to the Daily Press, the Gazette, and WYDaily.

    Why didn’t they offer us the chance to opt-in for a fee? We would do that.

  • Staci

    I pay $60 per year to use the library in the “big city” (population 35,000) in the next town over. Our local library is getting there, but has a ways to go.

    I’m bewildered that they don’t give you an option of paying an annual fee. Our fees are based on what the average household contributes via property taxes (although I’m sure I already contribute plenty to the city by simply shopping and eating out there). That seems short-sightened and senseless. If budget cuts are to blame, the annual fee would make that up. I would certainly ask them why that’s not a possibility.

  • Sahamamama

    Susan, this is a terrible blow. Does the library system issue cards to people who work within Williamsburg? Perhaps your teaching at W & M qualifies you for a non-resident, business library card.

    I realize that even if this is an option for you, it doesn’t help anyone else in Charles City County.

    Perhaps there is something the leadership of Charles City County could do to persuade WRL to reconsider? Would there be a way to raise a lump sum of money every year to entitle CCC residents to some level of borrowing privileges?

    The library is such a part of our lives, too. This would be a blow to us, as well. I hope it works out well for you.

  • Trista
  • Melissa

    The library officials must realize that letting people opt in is a money maker for them. Why are they just cutting people off? It just does not make sense.

  • AmyH

    That is really harsh, to cut off all access without the opportunity to pay for a card. My own local library instituted similar policies…we are in a large metro area and the next municipality over voted to not fund libraries, resulting in many closures and cutbacks. The patrons ended up coming to our libraries, and our board decided it was unfair and severely limited their use, but didn’t cut them off completely. And they were offered a full-access card for $100 per year. Your experience helps me see it in a new light. I hope you are able to get it resolved somehow.

  • Thankful

    Just plain short-sighted.

    I live all of a mile outside the town limits in the same state you’re in, and there has never been an issue with using the town library. In fact they give borrowing rights to anyone working or living in the surrounding county, and have agreements with many of counties nearby. Some of the other counties restrict what I can do like no ILL or electronic resources, but that’s the extent of it. Between the town library and a larger system the next county over, I can get probably 90% of what I want. Local ILL and buying fill in the rest just fine.

  • Steph

    The decision to not include an option for non-residents is interesting. I would love to hear why.

    Norfolk, Hampton, & Newport News are open to VA residents. I have lived in both Norfolk and Hampton and the libraries are never overcrowded and always have materials I need. I currently supplement through the military libraries, mainly for testing and languages.

    Poquoson and Gloucester are open to tidewater area with no mention of other options. Virginia Beach is 35.00 yr for non-residents. Cheasapeake charges 35/yr (they do have a limited non-resident card for free (6 book limit). Portsmouth is open to non-residents for 80.00/yr. New Kent/Charles City Courthouse?

    Big differences between the cities around here.

    I did happen to see that the projected date for the Charles City Library is June 2011. Looks like they are still in need of donations. Maybe this means a new library home?

    Good Luck! Hope you get a response and a change of heart from Williamsburg.

  • Sherrill Fink

    The library policy change is outrageous, and your reply is brilliant. Very odd indeed that they don’t simply start charging for a card. Our regional library here in WA charges $25 for residents outside their jurisdiction, but I even get that waived because I am an educator (homeschool parent). Charging is a viable response to budget cuts, not cutting people off.

  • S

    I reside in James City County so will not be directly affected by the policy change (beyond the reduced services we may see as the library gets less use).

    I understand the issues with library funding and fairness for all contributing entities but do not understand the decision to cancel library cards for out of area patrons. As a child growing up in a small, rural town I had a library card in the closest city. Our family paid a yearly fee for this privilege and it was well worth it. There are plenty of viable ways to address funding issues without cutting off library patrons.

  • Desiré

    I lived in New Kent County and worked in Williamsburg for many years. I used the Williamsburg library exclusively during that time. I would have been happy to pay a fee for the privilege, and I don’t understand why that wouldn’t be an option. Most other places I’ve lived have had either reciprocal agreements with neighboring systems or a fee for joining from out of the region.

  • Jane

    What a shame! I feel for you, as I also live in a town with a very small local library and make frequent use of the library in the nearby big city. In our province (Alberta) you can actually get an Alberta library card that allows you to borrow from any library in the province. It is not quite as convenient as it sounds (and as it should be in this age of technology), but still better than nothing.

    Also, we do pay (~$15/year) for library cards, but I am happy to do that in order to have access to such a great collection of materials.

    I hope you are successful in helping the library board there to use some common sense. It doesn’t sound very hopeful, though, does it?!?

  • Serena

    I don’t understand why they won’t let you just pay a fee. In order for my family to use the library we pay a fee computed by multiplying the taxable value of our property by the library tax multiplier–which is exactly what we would pay in library taxes if we lived within city limits.

    At one point, we were considering moving to another state due to a job situation. When I checked into the local library’s rules for non-resident cards I found that they would not issue any at all. Why? Well, because not everyone can afford to pay a non-resident fee. And, apparently, if everyone can’t have something, no one can.

  • Kristine

    It’s interesting how different county libraries are within the state. Franklin County (south of Roanoke) allows any Virginia resident to obtain a library card, with the exact same privileges as a county resident.

    LOL at the typos in that paragraph that was not included in your form letter.

    It may be worth reviewing a policy manual, if they’ll make one available. I wonder if they have any allowance for a temporary card, which may be available for a small fee and good for a certain time period (such as one year).

    Was it already well-covered in your local media? If not, I’d aim for that. It’d be a great lesson for the kids too. 🙂

  • Angela

    We have a similar situation here in piedmont NC. The closest library to us, which we always patronized, now charges $40 per card per year for non-city residents to check out books from the library. This is so frustrating because our family volunteers at this library, and my kids can’t even have their own library cards since we would be charged an additional $40 for each person’s card.

  • Rebecca

    I wonder if the Downtown Business Association (or similar) would be willing to voice their displeasure of this idea. I assume that when families visit the library they also buy gas, eat lunch, shop for shoes, etc.

  • Heather Q.

    Complete idiocy is particularly disheartening when it is found in those who are library directors. The whole thing is just nonsensical…like backward world. NO! You CAN”T check out the books!

    I just can’t believe that there is ANY advantage to this proposal. When I worked at the public library in Bedford County, our budget was dependent on circulation. The more books that were checked out, the more money the library system received. It makes absolutely no sense that they would do anything that would decrease circulation.

    Lynchburg also charges non-residents a yearly fee of $25 to have a library card, but they are the only ones around who do, I think. I know Bedford and Amherst counties don’t and Amherst has reciprocity with Lynchburg. Books can be checked out from one place and returned to another.

    Is your library director new and on a power trip?

  • Susan Michaelson

    Susan, I’m active in local government here, and what I might suggest is that you get a face-to-face meeting with your local representatives in Charles City, and get them involved. The decision you’ve described is allegedly being driven by budget concerns, although – and I look at this sort of thing all the time – I can’t imagine how it will save much at all. That said, it may be possible for Charles City to strike an agreement with the Williamsburg library, and perhaps offer a barter (maybe parks and fields use?) or payment of a small annual fee for the ongoing extension of borrowing privileges to its residents. Best wishes with it!

  • JumpedIDEF

    Perhaps the next step should be approaching the leadership of Charles City County about why they have chosen not to buy into the Williamsburg Library System. Clearly that is what the folks in Williamsburg are expecting from outside counties. Alternatively, you could propose that Williamsburg allow individuals to buy into their system as many have outlined in the comments section.

    Best of luck in this endeavor!

  • Jenny

    At the risk of sounding cynical, let me throw this out there. From my understanding library funding is based on circulation…the more the items circulate the more funding they qualify for, (hence the reason our local system has about a bizillion movies for rent). So your library it seems is effectively shooting themselves in the foot. They will lose circulation and therefore funding. At face it seems self-destructive.
    Unless…… this is what they intend. By cutting you off now they will create a need, both for themselves (lower funding) and for you (no access). Then they create a service for the “need” and charge for it. Cut your access to the library, create a need, allow you back into the system via a fee, voila….the library keeps circulation, keeps funding and increase their revenue. And why you may ask, do they not just offer the fee-based service up front….wellllll the higher the emotional attachment created, the higher the fee they can get away with…..warned you I would sound cynical.

  • Faith

    If I were the merchants of Williamsburg, I’d be rather concerned about the short-sightedness of this policy. It makes it much easier, do to angst, for the residents of Charles City to avoid going into Williamsburg as often as they may now. Less revenue in the city coffers, is not what any municipality needs in the current economy.

    It is interesting that there has been no explanation of how this is supposed to save money for the Williamsburg library. After all, everyone who checks out books is likely to eventually pay late fees and anyone who makes frequent use of a library is more inclined to be generous during library fundraisers. It seems to me that they are alienating a large group of potential “pocketbooks”. I suppose that they could make a case that reducing the number of books going out, will allow them to fire an employee. Again, that’s just another very poorly thought out decision as well.

    It would be much wiser to announce that the library is struggling, in these trying financial times, to continue it’s current service level and that all non-residents will be charge $5.00 or $10.00 per card annually. This would be financially within reach of most residents and possibly there could be a “donate to the cause” program for those who are unemployed. This would be a “win-win” PR situation for the library. As it is, they just lose respect within the community and very likely, revenue as well.

    Let us know if there is a major public outcry about this and a favorable resolution or if the public accepts it without fuss.


  • Sebastian (a lady)

    Their response completely ignores the fact that goverments have long extended services to non-residents for a fee. An example would be the fire service, which has had mutual aid agreements that cross fire department boundaries all the time.

    Just as a fire in a neighboring town, left out of control, has a negative impact on your town; the ignorance bred by a population with limited access to books has a negative influence that won’t stop at the city limits.

    It’s been years since I lived in Tidewater, but at the time, there was a reciprical agreement between the Norfolk, Virginia Beach, Chesapeake, and other local libraries for a local interlibrary loan consortium.

    The new policy honestly strikes me as reflecting an attitude that lending of books is not a core function of the library system. The sop that non-residents may still ask questions and use the computers doesn’t sound like they see reading as a core function.

    It would be interesting to FOIA their circulation stats. I wonder if they will end up with even more budget cuts when their circulation falls after this decision.

  • Sebastian (a lady)

    When we lived in Norfolk, I had cards for both the Norfolk and the Virginia Beach libraries. Visiting the Va Beach library was an outing for us. We would get books, have lunch nearby and often go shopping.

    If I were in a similar position of being restricted from library patronage, I would be strongly tempted to send letters to the shops near the library that I was in the habit of visiting, pointing out to them that the new library policy made it less likely that I would be coming into town and less likely that I would be spending money at their shops and restaurants.

    Walmart or McDonalds probably wouldn’t notice. But the smaller, owner run stores might.

  • Tom

    I agree with Susan Michaelson. It’s hard to see how they’ll save that much money. This is clearly govt on auto-pilot. While your letter was reasonable and heart-felt, the response was predictable. Unfortunately a fee option for non-residents, while sensible, would require effort to implement and it’s clear the desire isn’t there. A grass roots campaign may be your only option. Good luck!

  • Camy

    I would be devastated if our library devised such a nefarious policy! Your letter expresses your sentiments well. Good luck!

  • Charlotte

    What next? Will non-residents be denied the right to drive on roads paid for by the local government? Border checkpoints? Governments tend to forget that they have no funds of their own, only those provided by individuals (resident and non-resident) through taxes. If Williamsburg/James City County is going to deny library services to Charles City County residents, it should start rebating sales tax revenue collected from them.

  • Ally

    Hope some public librarians will chime in, but the funding bit you mentioned in the next post sounds fishy to me, because I know of TONS of public libraries that do allow people to pay a fee if they live out of the area, and I’d assume they aren’t turning down funding in order to do so.

    But I’m an academic librarian who only briefly worked circulation in a public library during grad school, so I can’t say anything for certain. Trust me – I’m sure the actual librarians and library staff are as annoyed as you are… maybe more so because they probably can’t say anything about the decision!

  • Emily Hogge

    If you’re feeling socially active, consider contacting your representative about this, to see if they’d consider getting involved. I just contacted mine, Rob Wittman, because I really don’t think it’s fair to exclude rural VA residents from the library without a dialogue or some other options, such as permitting them to buy into the system.

  • Beauly

    That’s the government for you. Strong-arming and placing its foot firmly on the neck of the people, just where they want it. “Up yours,” they say!

  • Laura

    Williamsburg gets a significant amount of funding from the state, which gets this money from the tax dollars of every VA resident. If they are willing to turn down this money and only run off the contributions of Williamsburg residents, then this policy makes sense. Until then, they are using some of our money and denying us privileges.

  • Fammy

    It is incredibly dumb that WRL won’t even charge a small fee for non-residents, but why not use the opportunity to use your own library right there in Charles City? If it works anything like the libraries in my area, it’s already paid for with your tax dollars, just as Williamsburg Regional is paid for with its residents’ tax dollars.


  • Susan

    I keep responding to this whenever people raise it: The “library” in Charles City is one room in the courthouse which is open 3 days per week. I am not exaggerating when I say that we have LITERALLY read everything in it. In addition, there is no budget in Charles City for library acquisitions, so few (if any) new purchases are made.

    Although Charles City is lobbying to build its own “real” library, the plans proposed are expansive–five million dollars–for a county whose residents are mostly below the poverty level. So far only 500K has been raised, and so far as I know, there is still no operating budget for this prospective library.

    Of course I hope for a local library, and am doing what I can to support it, but this library is at least five years off. Most likely more. What are we supposed to do in the meantime?

  • Fammy

    Thanks for the clarification, Susan. I didn’t see that addressed in the comments, so I apologize if I repeated an already answered question.

    Your library needs support from the community – in the form of advocacy and usage statistics – to justify raising and spending that $5 million for a new building, and they won’t get that money if its community doesn’t use what’s there.

    In the meantime, the best way to help your local library get better is to visit it and use it. If you want something that’s not there, they can most likely request materials from other libraries through Interlibrary Loan. If they have a Friends of the Library group, join and donate your time and money. If they don’t, consider starting one. Our Friends raise substantial funds to suppport programming and collections, among other services. Good luck!

  • Susan

    We have done these things, and will continue to do so.

    In the meantime (and here in Virginia the meantime could be another ten years), I don’t think it’s reasonable for us to do without decent public library access.

    Scratch “don’t think it’s reasonable.” I think it’s unacceptable.


  • Phil in NC

    There’s a real sense of entitlement in these responses that needs to be addressed. Don’t think I’m not sympathetic to your problem, I am. But you’ve got to take another look and distinguish reality from wishful thinking. First, state taxes don’t go equally back to the localities. These two places are most likely subsidizing your county’s roads and services because of the poverty level. Second, the couple of bucks the localities make on your trip to Mcdonalds or the gas station probably don’t make enough difference to pay for the services you’ve used for 37 years. For free. Third, is your fee going to pay for the accountants and computer programs to make sure you’ve paid your money for the membership year? Finally, the elected officials who probably appoint the board don’t owe you any consideration, and all the bad publicity from around the country won’t change that fact..

    Take another look at your representative’s voting record. He opposed everything that might have helped prevent this economic catastrophe. Why haven’t you organized a public protest against that?

    A fire station in Tennessee let a house burn down because the residents didn’t pay their membership. A county in California is billing non-residents if they have to be rescued in a car accident. Harder times are coming and this is going to look petty alongside the loss of cops, the closing of schools, the failure of bridges and roads and the money being wasted in Afghanistan. As a historian, you ought to recognize the symbols of every empire in decline.

  • Hélène

    Here locally in NYS, a house burnt DOWN becuz, they too, had not paid the fee. They offered to pay it right then if the fire truck would come and put out the fire. The fire chief said no. The example was made. The family lost everything. Can you imagine your pictures and scrapbooks and your now-20yo’s baby blanket, just gone POOF while your neighbors (in effect) just stood there and watched??
    The only real library here (with access to even regional universities’ libraries), started more than 10 yrs ago to charge for the privilege of taking out books as non-residents. It was unaffordable for a widowed mom. So we were stuck with our totally inadequate library system. We had been able to get some real finds in movies, like the Brother Cadfael, from the other library system. You can’t rent these anywhere even. Recently, this same library doesn’t let noncard-holders use the library computers anymore either.
    I’ve been going to libraries’ book sales for 25 yrs anyway and picking up all the good books they no longer shelve. Good thing, indeed.

  • Jesse

    We also pay a yearly, out of county fee of $50 (for our whole family) to access the really nice library in the next county over. I can’t believe they didn’t try harder to figure something out!!

  • Elizabeth

    I just heard about this today from my mother who works at W&M. We are both absolutely livid about this situation. I have grown up using the Williamsburg and then the James City Libraries. I have brought my kids to the library (ages 9, 6 and 17 months) as long as I can remember. I wrote to the library when the summer reading program was denied to them and received a response much like the one you received. I live literally 1 mile outside of James City County, spend all of my money on food, gas, groceries, entertainment, etc. in James City and Williamsburg so it is absurd to me that we cannot use the library here, the library that I drive past multiple times. The library that we have in New Kent, while bigger than Charles City I assume, is still small and has very limited resources. My children could not understand why all of the other kids they saw at the library got to participate in the summer reading program and they couldn’t and now this? Unbelievable. I also learned that the funding provided for the summer reading program materials is actually provided by the state library and not the local government at all so the funding explanation was a lie if you ask me. That’s their answer for everything and it doesn’t even make any sense to me! How much does it cost them for myself and the rest of my family to check out books? Nothing, because half the time I end up having to pay late fees so they are MAKING money off of us. I know alot people are willing to pay a fee and part of me is too but the other part thinks this is also ridiculous since I spent all money on the above mentioned things in the county that the library is located in. I’m saddened to think of the looks on my children’s faces when I tell them that they can no longer go to the library. And for the library to say that we can come in but not check out books is like a slap in the face. It’s like saying you can go to Busch Gardens but you can’t ride the rides. Or come to the pool but don’t get in the water. How, as a mother of 3 young kids, can I read at the library while I’m there? Should I let them run wild so that I can read while I’m there since I’m not allowed to take anything home? Hmm…maybe that’s a good idea actually. I am so angry about this and I want to do something but am not sure how to go about it.

  • Susan

    Elizabeth–write John Moorman and Susan Geary and demand an explanation for why a fee-based system is not under consideration. And join our protest on January 31: http://www.welltrainedmind.com/library.

  • Elizabeth

    I will write to them. I have been trying to find information that will help and I found a few things on the ALA website that seem relevant to this situation.

    Access to Information
    Libraries are major sources of information for society and they serve as guardians of the public’s access to information more generally. The advent of the digital world has revolutionized how the public obtains its information and how libraries provide it. Libraries help ensure that Americans can access the information they need – regardless of age, education, ethnicity, language, income, physical limitations or geographic barriers – as the digital world continues to evolve. Core values of the library community such as equal access to information, intellectual freedom, and the objective stewardship and provision of information must be preserved and strengthened in the evolving digital world.

    Equity of Access
    Equity of access means that all people have the information they need-regardless of age, education, ethnicity, language, income, physical limitations or geographic barriers. It means they are able to obtain information in a variety of formats-electronic, as well as print. It also means they are free to exercise their right to know without fear of censorship or reprisal.

    I clicked on the link about the protest but could never get it to open…could be my computer…will try again tomorrow. I definitely want to be involved.

  • Elizabeth

    One more thing…John Moorman is a member of the ALA…should he not uphold their beliefs?

  • Norma Wyatt

    I am a James City County resident and I DO NOT AGREE with this new action by the Library. Thank you for calling this to our attention. I sincerely hope they will reconsider their decision.

  • Karin

    I’m rooting for you 100 percent, and think that fees are a great way to rectify this. I’m commenting mainly to point out that in our town, library fines do NOT go to the library, but to a general fnd in city hall. I was quite miffed to learn this recently. This may be the case where you are, meaning that your library fines may not actually help the library. although your other contributions do.

    We have no limit on our checkouts and live right in the city, but we’ll take out a large number of books tomorrow in sympathy.

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