via The Sun News:
Myrtle Beach residents could have to pay a membership fee to use the Chapin Memorial Library if the City Council approves recommendations made Sunday night by city staff at their annual budget retreat.
City Council members did not make any decisions Sunday, and will discuss options throughout the remainder of the retreat – which ends on Tuesday afternoon – and continue to discuss when they return to Myrtle Beach. A budget ordinance must be approved by the end of June.
Subscription libraries is nothing new however, according to Wikipedia, "In the United States the earliest subscription libraries date back to the 18th century, when societies or groups of individuals joined to purchase books for a commonly run library. The Library Company of Philadelphia in Philadelphia, PA was the first of these libraries, started in 1731 by Benjamin Franklin."
But still $125 fee!?!?
The Chapin Memorial Library already charges non-Myrtle Beach residents a fee. Currently the fee is $20 a year for Horry County Residents and $8.00 for 90 Day visitors card.
It is true that libraries are, like most old media, dying slowly; however, there are still a great deal of people where libraries are the only access to entertainment, learning, and computers.
The city needs to figure this mess out, and not with a subscription fee to the library. Maybe have it be closed on Monday's? Maybe sell the Whispering Pines Golf Course, which, according to the article is losing $250K annually. Maybe not build a $10 million dollar performing arts center if we can't afford to keep the library doors open without a subscription fee? Maybe hand Chapin over to Horry County? Maybe raise property taxes? But that would sort of make the promise of the penny tax a moot point...Maybe not waste money on out-of-town retreats to talk about the budget.