Overall, some 303 librarians and support staff members worked for 27 main and branch facilities with combined expenditures of more than $78 million in Lake and Porter counties last year, according to the Gateway database furnished by the Indiana State Board of Accounts.
That results in a public cost ranging from $45 per person in the Porter County Public Library system, up to $233 per person in Crown Point.
The libraries have racked up a combined debt of of more than $56 million in principal and interest payments to be made over the next six to 18 years.
The chief debtor is the Lake County Public Library, which owes $27.8 million in total payments from now to 2024.
Public libraries in East Chicago, Gary, Westchester and Whiting are debt free.