Service not included : charging for public library services

Presentation of the conclusions given by a working group. An enquiry held in several countries reveals the multiple opinions about free public libraries. In Norway, for instance, public libraries are free by law; in the Netherlands, they are free only for children. The question is being taken into consideration again with the new technologies, as automation adds some value to the services : faster and more performing, their costs can easily be identified. All the services on which charges should be imposed are listed and divided into five categories; a distinction must be made between net and gross income. Although upholding free lending and book consultation, the Group invites the various professional associations to declare themselves about services with added value. A Norvegian librarian raises some objections to the conclusions of this draft : she contests the dividing line between the medias, too much concern for profitability and grouping different services.