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

Political activist Tim Eyman campaigns for Initiative 976 on Nov. 5 in downtown Bellevue. The initiative promised $30 car tabs while functionally eliminating the ability of agencies like Sound Transit to raise taxes for its projects. Photo by Aaron Kunkler
Election analysis: Eastside cities largely voted against I-976

Most Eastside cities weren’t swayed by I-976, though more voters approved it than the county average.

Eastside Veterans Day Ceremony expected to draw crowd

The annual tradition will honor Eastside resident Joe Crecca this year.

A new bus rapid transit line running through Bellevue

RapidRide K-Line projected for 2025.

Blayne Amson, the ADA/Title VI Administrator for Bellevue, showcases one of the six new wheelchair charging stations in the city. Courtesy photo
Bellevue installs wheelchair charging stations

The six new wheelchair charging stations will help better serve people with disabilities.

A King County judge found the company misled customers into thinking it was a charity. Photo courtesy of the state Attorney General’s office
Judge rules Value Village deceived customers

The King County judge found the company misled customers into thinking it was a charity.

King County will challenge legality of I-976

County Executive Dow Constantine: ‘We must clean up another mess that Tim Eyman has created for our state, our region, and our economy’

Voters are narrowly rejecting affirmative action

The no camp on affirmative action is winning by just over one point.

I-976 is passing, worrying transit advocates

The initiative promises $30 car tabs, but opponents say it will destroy state transit infrastructure.

Most Read