In this post we explore the importance of printing services provided by public libraries. We look at how much libraries are charging for print outs and the significance of this revenue stream. Wireless print interest has been rocketing in libraries over recent years, so we take a look at this trend. Finally, if you’ve ever wanted to know what people are printing, there’s an interesting overview of document types library customers are choosing to print.
Libraries have long been popular places for printing documents. Ever since its launch over 20 years ago, the People’s Network of library computers has offered a reliable way to print. In fact it’s true to say that we’re far away from becoming a paperless society. These days, at least one in five public computer sessions involve printing. So our latest survey findings are hardly surprising – that 100% of public libraries consider it important to allow users to print from PCs, and that over 70% rate it essential.
Printing also represents a significant source of revenue for libraries. With funding ruthlessly cut over successive budgets, any revenue streams libraries can generate are incredibly important. Talking to netloan public libraries, printing is often the first or second largest source they have.
Print revenue isn’t something that makes any headlines though. Despite its significance, it doesn’t even register as a distinct revenue source. It’s hidden in the ‘Miscellaneous receipts from the public’ category in the annual CIPFA reports, lumped in with damaged books, badges and carrier bags.
As more libraries stop fining for overdue items, print revenue becomes even more significant. What libraries charge for printouts is therefore critical to get right. Too high and it disadvantages those users on lower income, too low and it disadvantages the library...