NOPL at N. Syr will be closed Sunday, May 24 and all NOPL locations will be closed Monday, May 25 in observance of Memorial Day

Borrower Policy

 Posted by Amanda Roberts on December 17, 2013
Dec 172013

Important message to our library patrons and taxpayers:

NOPL has been in the news lately.  A new Onondaga County Public Library System Borrower Policy, implemented here in September, was scheduled for implementation in all county public libraries on January 2nd.  The county executive is trying to stop the implementation of the policy that requires residents outside of the county, who do not provide tax support for any Onondaga County library, through their school, library, or municipal taxes, to pay a modest fee of $35.

NOPL libraries are heavily used by our neighbors in Oswego County, where libraries have been de-funded or closed.  We welcome them; many have been NOPL patrons for years.  At the same time we think it’s fair to ask them to support the libraries they use.  Here are some facts:

  • 97% of our funding comes from taxpayers in our library district, which includes the Town of Cicero and the Town of Clay, except for those areas that are in the Baldwinsville or Liverpool School District.  Suburban libraries are assessed an annual fee from the Onondaga County Public Library that supports shared services like delivery and our Integrated Library System.
  • We currently check out approximately 120,000 items each year to Oswego County borrowers. This adds to our costs for staff, materials, processing, and building maintenance.
  • 63% of the usage of the Brewerton Library is by residents of Oswego County.  This fact endangers the future of a wonderful community library.
  • It isn’t all about books – NOPL has strong collections of films, music cd’s, and computer software that are attracting new borrowers.
  • As we add digital content – eBooks, audiobooks, music, TV shows and movies – the problem becomes even more apparent.  Library cardholders can borrow from home, and can be located anywhere. These new resources are expensive.

Libraries aren’t free – Information is free, and NOPL libraries are available to help anyone who walks in the door, whether or not they have a library card.  Our libraries are pleasant places where anyone can read a book or a magazine or a newspaper.  We provide free computers and wireless Internet access, story times, programs of all kinds for children, teens and adults.

A modest fee – and you can check our “What’s Your Library Worth to You” calculator on our website to see just how much value there is in our services – is fair to NOPL and county taxpayers, and will help our libraries to thrive in the future.

If you think that the proposed library fee is fair to taxpayers of the NOPL Special Library District and Onondaga County, please don’t delay – contact:

County Executive Joanne Mahoney
Office of the County Executive
John H. Mulroy Civic Center, 14th Floor
Syracuse, New York 13202
Telephone 315-435-3516
Fax 315-435-8582

OCPL Board President Virginia Biesiada
Galleries of Syracuse Central Library Level
443 S. Salina Street
Syracuse, NY 13202

If you have questions, please contact NOPL administration at 699-2534.

Questions and Answers about the New Library Card Policy (NOPL)

Q: Can members of a family share a library card?
A: Family members may choose to share a card, but cards are issued to individuals only, and the cardholder is responsible for all items checked out on the card. Some OCPL libraries may restrict a card’s use to the individual to whom it is registered.

Q: How does the fee-based card work?

A: The card expires after 12 months. It can be used at the library of registration, as well as the Central Library, city branches, and suburban libraries, and can be used remotely to place holds, use databases and download eBooks, Audiobooks, and music. (Digital resources and access to them varies by library and may be restricted to cardholders at the purchasing library.)

Q: Are there any conditions for waiving the fee?

A: Upon presentation of qualifying credentials, individuals who reside in Out-of-System areas may be
eligible to have the fee waived:
• An individual enrolled in any school, college, or university that is physically located in Onondaga County and provides verification in the form of a tuition bill, current and valid student ID, or letter of enrollment will have the fee waived for one year.
• An individual who owns property in Onondaga County and provides an Onondaga County tax bill dated within the last twelve months will have the fee waived, and the expiration date extended to three years.

Q: Can I still use the library if I don’t pay the membership fee?

A: Yes. Many services remain free to visitors and residents of neighboring counties. Visit the library to read books, magazines and newspapers, use a computer, or access the Internet wirelessly on your laptop or mobile device. You can ask a librarian for information in person, by text, email, or 24/7 chat reference. You can attend library programs and events for children, teens and adults.

Q: I received a letter about the fee, but my neighbor did not – why is that?

A: You received the letter if your registered library is NOPL at Brewerton, Cicero or North Syracuse. If you registered for your library card at another library in the county system (Liverpool or the Central Library, for example) you will receive a notice from that library when they implement the fee.

Q: Does it matter where my card is registered?

A: Yes. Your library card fee will go to your registered library, and you may want those dollars to purchase materials for the library you use most often. Also, your access to some library collections (downloadable audiobooks, music, and eBooks) may be determined by registered library.

Q: How do I find out where my card is registered?

A: Call, or stop in at any county library to inquire, or login to and click on “my account”. Type in your card number and PIN, and you’ll see “my library” entered when you click on “my record”.

Q: Can I pay the fee with a credit card?

A: Yes, you can pay the fee online from home or on a public computer at the library using a major credit card or PayPal account. To pay in cash or by check, stop in at a NOPL library in Brewerton, Cicero or North Syracuse, beginning September 3rd.

Questions and Answers about Library Funding

Q. How are NOPL libraries funded?

A: NOPL is a Special District Library, which means that we go directly to our taxpayers for a budget vote each year.

  • 97% of NOPL’s funding comes from taxpayers who live in the Town of Cicero and the Town of Clay (except for residents of the Liverpool, Baldwinsville or Phoenix School Districts).
  • System services, including delivery among the 32 libraries in the county and our automated catalog and circulation systems are supported by funding that comes from Onondaga County tax revenues and New York State.
  • NOPL receives a small amount of funding directly from New York State (0.4%). The amount we receive is based on the population of our special library district.
  • If you live in Oswego County, state funding to support your library use is going to the North Country Library System.

Q: How much do NOPL residents pay to support their libraries?

A: Per capita (per person) annual support from NOPL taxpayers in 2012 is $39.21. Overall, in
Onondaga County, average per capita support for libraries is $53.19.

Q: I live in the Central Square School District. Don’t my taxes support the Brewerton or Cicero Library?

A: No. At one time the Central Square School District contributed a small amount to NOPL’s budget, but this support stopped in 2007.

Q: Do other libraries impose non-resident fees?

A: Yes. Many libraries throughout the country charge non-resident fees. Fees are also common in New York State: Saratoga Springs, Auburn, Geneva, the Four County Library System (Broome, Chenango, Delaware and Otsego), and libraries in the Ramapo Catskill, Upper Hudson, and Nassau County library systems.

The Monroe County (Rochester) Library System charges a $45 annual fee and Buffalo-Erie County Library System charges $40 per year.