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Library Initiates Internet Printing Fee

Users will now pay 10 cents per page after first 10

Fort Vancouver Regional Library District is initiating a new cost-recovery program for patron Internet computer printing.

Charges for Internet printing will be implemented district-wide by June 1.

For the first time, patrons will pay 10 cents per single-sided printed page after 10 free pages per day, using account payment machines (APMs) in branches. This new procedure complements the district's long-term policy of charging 10 cents per page for photocopies after 10 free copies per day of non-circulating materials.

Account payment machines have been installed in all affected branches, including Whtie Salmon. The machines accept up to a $25 balance in each account, which is tied to the individual's library card number. The APMs accept U.S. currency ranging from nickels up to a $20 bill; the machines cannot give change back.

The new self-serve payment system was made possible by the district's conversion to Smart Access Manager (SAM) software in August 2003.

The SAM system also allows the library to schedule computer reservations for some branches, to manage the district's Internet usage allotment of one hour per patron per day, and to implement in April a strengthened Internet filtering policy compliant with the Children's Internet Protection Act.

FVRL has been one of the last library districts to charge for Internet printing, and is doing so to recoup some of the expense of making printing available to patrons.

FVRL patrons print out about two million pages each year, at a total annual cost to the district of about $200,000. Installing the account payment machines will add a one-time expense of about $55,000 in 2004, but the district expects to recoup that cost in the first year through printing charges.

"We anticipate that having to pay for Internet printing will dramatically drop the volume of print-outs made," said Bruce Ziegman, library district executive director. "With a reduced volume of pages printed, we expect a corresponding reduction in patron complaints about excessive printing by others, and fewer unclaimed print-outs left behind," he said.

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