The decision about whether to charge for library services is part political and part programmatic. In librarianship this is the subject of considerable debate. As an accountant, I know that whatever librarians decide, it is important that they know how much the services they provide cost. That's the bottom line issue. Before looking at how to set charges, let's first try to determine how much services cost by using a simple methodology—one that does not consume more time than the organization can afford to spend on recordkeeping, and does not require a sophisticated accounting system and staff. This approach provides a substantial amount of organizational benefit, regardless of whether or not actual service charges are assessed to users.
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