ERIC Number: ED377884
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1991
A Discrete Inquiry: Is the Merging of School and Public Libraries a Viable Option in the State of North Dakota?
North Dakota Advisory Council on Libraries, Bismarck.
A recurring issue in the library field is the possible merger of public and school libraries into one joint venture with a single administration. In anticipation of increased emphasis on library consolidation in the future, a brief analysis of North Dakota's current library situation reveals that it is characterized by inconsistent service, scarce funds, and a shortage of options, making merger a possible alternative. This proposal has traditionally been based on the contention that in areas of limited population and resources, the operation of one library is more efficient than two, but this theory has not been proven in practice. Arguments for merger include economic and budgetary savings; increased credibility, strength and effectiveness; a stronger sense of community; and better ability to attract young readers and keep them as patrons. Anti-merger arguments claim that the economic savings tend to be more illusion than reality. This is because school and public libraries have very different audiences and goals that cannot be blended smoothly. In the case of a merger, the lesser partner (usually the public library) diminishes in importance. Population, public interest, goodwill and cooperative attitude of participants, and strength of library staff are determining factors in the viability of consolidation. Mergers are advised to be done with caution, and creative cooperative arrangements are recommended as possible alternatives to the problematic option of consolidation. (MAS)
Publication Type: Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: N/A
Audience: Administrators; Practitioners; Media Staff
Authoring Institution: North Dakota Advisory Council on Libraries, Bismarck.
Identifiers - Location: North Dakota