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One tradition ends, another begins at Sanibel library

By Staff | Feb 11, 2015

Library technology manager Joanne Wessels demonstrates a 3D printer for curious patrons. CRAIG GARRETT

One rite of passage has left the building. Another will continue in the coming months.

Due to funding issues and advancing technology, the Internal Revenue Service has cut back a tax-season staple at local libraries — the paper instructions some taxpayers use to make sure they’re filing their returns properly. The instructions contain tables that list an individual’s tax bracket status and tax liability that aren’t on the forms themselves.

In a January email sent to the nation’s libraries, the IRS Tax Forms Outlet Program administrator notified library authorities that funding cuts had forced the agency to cutback on tax pamphlets delivered for tax filings. We want to honor our commitment to you, federal administrators told the nation’s librarians, but cannot deliver nearly what we have in the past.

The government will continue to supply libraries with 1040, 1040A and 1040EZ forms, but still no word on when any of the IRS forms will arrive. Taxpayers are also being directed to online services to file taxes, a direction many had turned, any way.

David Tucker, spokesman for the IRS, said the agency has more tax-filing resources available online than ever before, including printable and downloadable paper forms and instruction sheets. Tucker said those making less than $60,000 a year can use commercial software for free to electronically file tax returns. He said filing online leads to much greater accuracy and reduced liability for taxpayers.

Library patrons can print out IRS forms for 10 cents a page.

The library last week also introduced new technology in 3D printing. The device on loan for a week allowed patrons to build 3-dimensional objects, from seashells to work projects, furniture designs and toys. Printer technology is so advanced, that researchers use the devices to build replacement knees, even a tool built in space, said Joanne Wessels, the Sanibel library’s technology manager demonstrating the printer for perplexed onlookers.

“It’s mind-boggling how far technology has advanced,” Wessels said in describing the MakerBot desktop printer on loan from the Southwest Florida Library Network.

The device was surprisingly easy to navigate, using software to map out a project on the screen, a nozzle of heated plastic to layer the work in a small box on a desk. Wessels anticipates the library will obtain a 3D printer in the coming months, especially as cost for the unit declines to about $1,200.

For more information about the Sanibel Public Library, call (239) 472-2483 or visit sanlib.org.