Overview More Details
WALS fees are based on a formula which strives to quantify a member library’s usage of WALS resources. This formula is based on a library’s circulation, number of items, and number of users. The formula assigns a percentage of the total costs to each library. There is a base fee which represents the least amount a library could pay and still receive services. If the library’s percentage of costs are below the base fee, they are charged the base fee. The remaining costs are divided up among the remaining libraries. Because the fee for the remaining libraries is a percentage, each library’s fee is relative to that of the other remaining libraries. For non-base libraries, this means that, even if your library’s usage remained completely static from year-to-year, your fee would vary because of changes in usage by other libraries. The base rate increases slightly each year to reflect inflation and the annual increase in the maintenance fees of the automation software.
While not an exhaustive list, here are some things that WALS provides its member libraries:
- a shared automation system with a shared catalog, mobile app, notices, and database maintenance—i.e. your patrons can find the items they are looking for and get them from all over.
- a shared telecommunication network with internet access (both wired and wireless), email, file storage, and website hosting--i.e. your patrons can apply for jobs online and search/surf the web; your staff can communicate effectively; your library can have a presence on the internet;.
- trained staff to support the above—i.e. you don’t need to find a technician/consultant every time something doesn’t work properly; your data is backed up and secure;
- training for library staff on the above—i.e. you & your library’s staff stay current and competent on the services you provide to your patrons.
The revenue for these services come primarily from member libraries. Winnefox also contributes a significant portion. During the years around the 2008 recession, Winnefox increased its contribution to about 20% Historically, and ideally, Winnefox should be contributing 10% or less to the WALS budget, so that member libraries are less dependent on State aid for a mission-critical service. We have been gradually working our way closer to that 10% mark, based on the recommendation of our member libraries. This year, because there were some reductions in costs, we were able to get much closer to that goal. The decreased Winnefox contribution to WALS means that Winnefox will have more revenue in its budget to improve other services to your library which aren’t covered by WALS fees—such as delivery.
- What do libraries get for their WALS fees?
- How are WALS fees calculated?
- Why do WALS fees vary every year?