Library cards will now be issued at the Rimbey Municipal Library free of charge.
“I am just thrilled,” said library manager Jean Keetch. “I have always believed they should be free.”
The decision to issue free library cards to residents of the Town of Rimbey, Ponoka County and the Summer Village of Parkland Beach was made at the Jan. 21 library meeting.
Keetch said it is not usual practice in North America to charge for library cards. She noted fees are only charged in Alberta and a small portion of Quebec.
However, an increasingly large number of libraries in Alberta are beginning to offer free library cards including Ponoka library, she added.
“While the Rimbey library has always offered free cards to those unable to afford one, the board and staff believe that requiring someone to self identify a need is a barrier in itself.
She said the library board agreed that tax dollars fund library services and, therefore, library membership cards and the benefits provided by the card should be free to everyone.
Last year the library realized $6,100 from the sale of library cards which sold for $15 for an individual and $25 for a family. However, the library budget showed a small surplus last year and Keetch said the board is hoping the funding will be sustainable for this year.
Library board chairman Rowena Aitken said there are numerous other ways residents can support the town’s library.
“They can join the Town of Rimbey Library Board, the Rimbey Library Booster Society, shop at our semi-annual book sales, or contribute a cash donation that may have been spent on a membership,” she said. “The library can issue tax receipts for donations, she added.