For many patrons of the —and any of the seven other libraries in the Santa Clara County Library district—things will be change—big-time.
An $80 library card fee—with certain exceptions—goes into effect today July 1 for non-residents of the district who want to check out materials from the county library district. This means that Mountain View residents who want to borrow books or use Internet service at the Los Altos Library now have to pay for the privilege.
In fact, the library cards just won't work.
"It's a whole new ballgame," said Jane Cronkhite, the community librarian at Los Altos Library, where usage by non-residents from Palo Alto and Mountain View is high.
According to Rosanne Macek, director of Library Services, for the , "the County Library has alerted all their current cardholders who are non-residents about the new fee, so all Mountain View residents who use the Los Altos Library should now be aware of the situation."
Approximately use the county library system and the county library expects–based on a survey–that only 2 percent of non-residents will actually pay, Macek told the Mountain View City Council in June.
"In this area, they’ll probably see more than 2 percent," she said.
However, there may be people who will not pay the fee and return to MVPL.
"We, of course, will be extending a warm welcome to anyone who wants to get a library card with us in Mountain View," Macek said. "We think we are seeing an increase in requests for cards already but I don't have specific data yet."
The library board voted April 28 to charge a fee for the first time in the history of the county library district, and the county librarian cited dwindling state contributions.
Cronkhite and her librarians have been spending a lot of time counseling patrons who don't live in Los Altos or Los Altos Hills.
"We really do want to give them library cards," she said. It's a matter of how they can, with the implementation of the new rules.
The Los Altos Library has set up a page on its website of Frequently Asked Questions about navigating the new fee.
For eligibility information, click here: http://patch.com/A-jQrL