SitNews - Stories in the News - Ketchikan, Alaska



Free Library Services?
By Robert D. Warner


February 14, 2006

I always enjoy the SitNews articles written by freelance writer Marie Monyak. These articles provide both depth and excellent analysis on local issues that are frequently overlooked by other sources. Once in a while I notice something that might not be exactly accurate, but it does make one stop to think and sometimes smile or laugh.

In a recent article describing a visit to Ketchikan by a touring author, services at the Ketchikan Public Library were described as being "free." Are they?

Apparently services at the Ketchikan Public Library have never been free. Even when the library first opened its doors in 1901, a membership fee of 25 cents per month was required to use the library. Conditions are quite different today, but library services are certainly not free. Taxpayers are now charged for library operations and staffing.

The last time I looked I noticed that the Ketchikan Public Library is one of the most expensive libraries to operate in Alaska in relation to the size of the community served. Have you ever wondered why?

Many small and medium sized public libraries in Alaska have active volunteer groups that provide essential staffing services that sharply reduce personnel costs. Ketchikan Public Library does not; it depends almost entirely on a generously paid staff to provide library services and also entertainment for kids.

Yes, we might be "free" to use the library, but we have to pay for it whether we use it or not!

Robert D. Warner
Ketchikan, AK - USA

About: Robert D. Warner has been a Ketchikan resident since 1972 and he is a retired UAS Ketchikan faculty member.

Related Story:

Ketchikan: Award Winning Author Visits Ketchikan By MARIE L. MONYAK - The Ketchikan Public Library recently hosted author Pam Houston who gave a short presentation and a reading from her first and most recent novel Sighthound which was published in January of 2005. - More...
Monday PM - February 13, 2006


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