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.

More in News

Courtesy photo
                                North Bend Mayor Rob McFarland (R) presents the 2019 Citizen of the Year award to North Bend resident Beth Burrows at the city’s Feb. 4, 2020 council meeting.
North Bend’s Citizen of the Year

Beth Burrows recognized for outstanding contributions to the community.

Federal Way resident Mi’Chance Dunlap-Gittens, 17, died Jan. 27, 2017. Courtesy photo
Law enforcement challenges report on sting operation that killed Federal Way teen

King County Office of Law Enforcement Oversight’s findings rattle Sheriff’s Office, police union.

Unstable housing? Apply for Section 8

Applications open in February for housing vouchers

Red Cross opens shelter after minor landslide in Fall City

Shelter opened at 6:30 a.m. on Feb. 11.

In 2018, the city of Seattle approved and then repealed a head tax within a month. It would have levied a $275 per employee tax on businesses grossing more than $20 million annually. Sound Publishing file photo
County head tax bill passes committee

Bill would let King County levy a tax on businesses to fund housing and address homelessness.

Gov. Jay Inslee signs the first bill of the 2020 legislative session into law. On the right stands the bill’s primary sponsor, Sen. Jamie Pedersen, D-Seattle, who is wearing a red tie. Photo by Cameron Sheppard, WNPA News Service
Gov. Inslee signs tax bill to help fund higher education

Law shifts a portion of the tax burden to large tech companies.

King County Metro’s battery-electric bus. Photo courtesy of kingcounty.gov
King County Metro bus fleet will be electrified by 2035

Future base in South King County would house hundreds of the zero-emission vehicles.

Three-quarters of the suicide deaths among children ages 10 to 14 are caused by firearms, according to a new report from the Firearm Injury and Policy Research Program at the University of Washington. File photo
King County studies youth gun violence amid rising suicides

It’s unclear what’s driving the trend.

Most Read