Inter-library loan solution not straightforward
Dear Ms. Scott,
Regarding your letter in the newspapers about funding inter-library loans.
I tried to find the real costs of the inter-library shipping. According to you it is $1.38 by mail and $4 with the old way of shipping through SOLS. That seemed strange to me, so I did some research. The $1.38 is the naked cost for the postage and does not include other costs, like getting it to the post office, special envelopes and labels, more labour and maybe more, the library will be able to tell you.
I did find an article about the Collingwood library, where the estimated costs mentioned is $2 and that it is comparable to the old cost with the former way of shipping.
I believe the other numbers in your letter, the ones about the deficit and how well your government is dealing with it, are also flattered.
You do not mention in your letter that the old way of shipping through SOLS included the shipping of new books. I would not be surprised if that is now more expensive and has to be paid by the libraries, by the municipality. Libraries that send more books, will be hit harder.
The shipping costs for inter-library loans also moves from the provincial government budget to the municipality. The taxpayer still has to pay.
You mention the access to over 700,000 digital books through the e-book service.
I will give you an example out of my own life, that shows that this does not always offer a solution. I am preparing for a group that I am a member of and for that I have to read several books by Lynne McTaggart. One of them I got access to through the Kawartha Lakes Library, 40 minutes to pick it up in Kinmount. I am glad to have it, I looked up e-books and found no books available by the author.
Again through the Kawartha Lakes library I found an audio book I could download. Almost 11 hours of listening. Not very practical when doing research, no content, no index, no looking back or forward. Ironically the book titled The Bond is about the benefits of community. People being healthier when helping others and less healthy when only serving self. It would have been great to be able to hold a real book, or even an e-book and in this case better access to the internet would not have made much difference. I could of course buy this excellent book, but I only need it once.
You try to impress us with how the government goes about saving money. Maybe the ideas for the library to ship through Canada Post were a good idea, maybe not. What is a very bad idea is to dump a decision on an institution when the proper way to go about it, instead of making a desk-decision, is to contact the institution involved and come up with a plan, with the information available based on years of experience.
Johanna Bruch-Hilkers (Anje Hilkers)