The computer system in Alpine District school libraries is falling apart, and some administrators urged the school board Tuesday to approve a student fee to support a new system.

Board members will decide next month whether to approve a proposal that would require students to pay a $1 to $4 library fee every school year. The new fee, if approved, would affect students in grades 7-12 and would be used to help the district purchase and maintain a new computer system that would allow students to access books in all of the district's secondary school libraries.David Walton, district media coordinator, said during a school board meeting at Lehi Elementary that the new system could be important to students.

"It's a very exciting possibility for our students in terms of research and access to information," Walton said. "When I became media coordinator two years ago, the first thing the secondary librarians told me was that the existing library management system was falling apart. The system continues to fall apart. Orem Junior High's system crashed this morning and they can't use it."

Systems in three other schools have completely broken down, too, he said. But the district could purchase a computer system that would cost only about 85 cents per student each year to maintain, but it would not allow students to access books in other libraries.

"We have an opportunity to join in a major networking system," he said. "It would be the recommendation of the librarians to move with with this system. It would offer us a great deal of flexibility and expandability as we enter the information age."

The library fee is part of a group of fees being proposed for board approval. All of the other charges are the same as they have been in the past. Superintendent Steven Baugh said the average student will pay about $60 for everything from locker fees to book rental charges.

The new library system, valued at $260,000, would cost the district about $100,000. The remaining cost would be taken care with grants through the company. Maintenance would cost about $36,000 a year.

Baugh will make a recommendation about the proposal and the board will likely vote on it at its business meeting May 9.

The superintendent said that although he hasn't decided whether he will recommend the school board approve the fee, it is an appropriate charge, because students would benefit from the new computers.

"The system comes to us highly recommended by the Utah County Library Association. It's an excellent system and we'd like to move on it," Baugh said. "We think the service it will give students outweighs the cost. I would like to see student fees kept down, but a $4 library fee is reasonable."