File photo

File photo

Free printing costs King County libraries $1 million each year

The library board is considering reducing the number of free pages from 75 a week to 10.

Starting early next year, the number of free pages that patrons can print at King County libraries may be significantly reduced.

The King County Library System (KCLS) board is considering reducing the amount of pages people can print for free each week from 75 black and white pages down to 10 pages. Library system spokesperson Julie Acteson said the reduction could be enacted in the first quarter of 2020. KCLS spends about $1 million each year of a $125 million budget on printing costs, including ink, paper and printer maintenance.

“People are flocking to our libraries to print, so that ever-increasing volume has really started to become unsustainable,” she said. “A million dollars is a lot of money.”

The preliminary 2019 KCLS budget narrative said the system will be implementing a pay-to-print system to encourage cloud-based options instead of paper printing. In 2017, there were more than 15 million black and white pages printed, and more than 2.5 million color pages were printed at no cost to the user, Acteson said. That increased to 18.4 million black and white pages, and 3 million color pages in 2018.

Library system members currently receive $11.25 each week in credit to use to print. Color pages cost 50 cents, and black and white pages cost 15 cents each. Starting in 2020, the weekly allowance could be reduced to $1.50. Acteson said many other library systems do not offer free printing.

“There’s a lot of libraries that for a long time have been charging to print and offering no free copies,” she said.

Acetson said the move likely would reduce paper consumption at the library system. There have not been discussions about how much money it may save the library system, or where those funds would go, she said.

At the same time, the library system also will be installing self-service kiosks at every library where patrons can put money on printing accounts, pay fines and conduct other transactions. The kiosks already have been installed in five libraries — Redmond, Auburn, North Bend, Enumclaw and Greenbridge. Every library should have one by the end of the year.

Library staff will not be reduced once the kiosks are installed, Acetson said.




Talk to us

Please share your story tips by emailing editor@seattleweekly.com.

More in News & Comment

Bret Chiafalo. File photo
Supreme Court says state can punish WA faithless electors

Justices: Presidential electors, including Everett man, must keep pledge to back popular vote winner

Puget Sound renters will need housing assistance

Nonprofits, activists are expecting greater need as workers are laid off.

Gov. Jay Inslee issued new guidance allowing the resumption of self-service buffets, salad bars, salsa bars, drink stations and other types of communal food sources in Phase 2. File photo
Buffets and salad bars back on the menu in King County

Gov. Jay Inslee has revised rules to allow self-serve food areas in Phase 2 of the state’s reopening.

Brian Tilley (left) and Katie Dearman work the wash station Friday at Kate’s Greek American Deli in Everett. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)
Governor’s no-mask, no-service order begins across Washington

“Just do not ring up the sale,” Gov. Jay Inslee said about customers who do not don the proper masks.

King County homeless count: 11,751 people, up 5 percent from 2019

One night a year, volunteers spread out across Seattle and King County… Continue reading

Nurse Sylvia Keller, pictured with Gov. Jay Inslee, is on the front lines of the COVID-19 battle in Yakima County. Courtesy photo
Governor doubles down on mask rules

Inslee: Starting July 7, businesses do not serve those who do not wear a mask

State Capitol Building in Olympia. File photo
Politicians get pay raises, state workers get furloughs

A citizens panel approved the hikes in 2019. Unable to rescind them, lawmakers look to donate their extra earnings.

Human remains in West Seattle identified

Bags of body parts were found in a suitcase along a West Seattle beach on June 19.

Summer vehicle travel projected to decrease this year

Traffic this summer will likely be lighter across Washington state than previous… Continue reading

Most Read