Have you seen the television ads that say “dinner at very expensive restaurant: $300. The smile on her face: priceless.” We need one for libraries that says “cost to check out 10 dvds, 5 books, 2 books on cd, attend a children’s program, and get your questions answered: free. Your Marin County Free Library Card: priceless.”
Seriously, have you ever added up the value of the materials you check out from the library? The worth of the free programs you or your children attend? The library is a very good deal, and it’s apparent that lots of people know this, because we have been seriously mobbed for the past month.
One reason for our popularity, aside from our wonderful collection, has been the Summer Reading Program. Children who sign up get prizes for every 5 days they read, with the grand prize, a “Dream Big: Read” t-shirt after 20 days. It’s so great to see kids’ eyes light up when I show them the box of rainbow gel pens (their first prize), or when they get to choose a magnetic bookmark after 10 days of reading.
Big kids get just as excited. We have online reading programs for teens and adults. A gentleman asked me, “is it true I get a free book if I sign up for summer reading program?” I explained that, yes, you get a free book, and for every review you submit online, you’re entered to win a prize. Our first prize-drawing included $50 Visa gift cards, and the grand prize is a Kindle. His response was, “Wow, what a place! You’re giving away all this free stuff!” The guy practically danced out the door. It was great to see his eyes light up!
It’s not just about the stuff. We also have marvelous free programs throughout the summer. Fairfax Library has an origami program for kids on July 26, a teen book group on July 30, and a storyteller on July 31 (see our calendar for details).
Starting July 1, Marin County Free Library has also eliminated the 50¢ fee for requesting books, and has reduced DVD fines from $1.00 a day to 25¢ a day. It’s amazing how popular we’ve become as a result. One patron asked us “how can you do that? Are you rolling in dough?”
Not exactly, but a library committee that studied barriers to service determined that DVD fines were a huge obstacle for many people. Things were different when libraries first started buying DVDs; now it doesn’t make sense to charge more for overdue movies than for other materials.
The request fee was originally put in place to cover postage; now that over 90% of notifications are sent by email, this fee didn’t make sense either. So if the book or DVD you want isn’t on the shelf at your local library, place a request, and it will be here very shortly. For free.
Abundance isn’t just about money. Everyone with a library card is a wealthy person.
Can I say it again? Your library card: priceless.