Consolidations can have financial benefits, such as by reducing technology and administrative costs, said deputy state librarian Jim Corridan.
He said merged libraries can cost less because they often don’t need two of everything, including administrators, subscriptions to the same databases or licenses for the same software.
“We’ve seen a growing trend toward collaboration,” Corridan said.
All three of the libraries in Noble County in northeast Indiana already have book-sharing agreements, allowing residents to check out books, regardless of the district they live in. Those districts explored a merger in 2010 but decided against it after residents expressed concerns about losing representation on the library board and a potential tax increase for some property owners.
The two Indiana library district mergers in the past four years haven’t resulted in overall budget reductions, but both mergers involved smaller libraries without administrative overhead, Corridan said.
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