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Sunday, January 25, 2009

Library consolidation and common sense

Today's Journal-Gazette featured a story on Indiana libraries, their funding, their numbers, and possible consolidations. (Read it here.)
And I had to laugh because of the following story told to me by our daughter-in-law Jayme.
Jayme needed a book from the library for a project she was working on for her job (she's a nurse educator). She lives in Whitley County, near Paige's Crossing (and works in Allen County). 
So off she went to the library in Columbia City, near her home, and found what she needed.
She could check the materials out, she was told ... IF she paid $100 for a library card. It seems she did not meet this criteria necessary to obtain a free card from the Peabody Library:
"Library cards are free to residents of Columbia City, Columbia Township, Thorncreek Township, and those who own property in these localities."
She lives in Union Township. 
Not having an extra $100 handy, this option was not available to her. However, another option was, according the librarian:
She could go to the South Whitley library, and request and interlibrary loan, and the C.C. library would send it to South Whitley, where she could pick it up ... at no charge. Because she lives in Union Township, and the South Whitley library serves those residents of Whitley Co.
South Whitley, a half-hour drive from Jayme's house, vs. Peabody Library, five minutes.
The SAME book. Sent by interlibrary transfer. To a library in a town a half-hour away. When Jayme was STANDING RIGHT THERE WITH THE BOOK IN HER HANDS. And gas, at the time, near $4 a gallon.
She looked at the librarian, and could only say, "That makes no sense."
She had a friend get the book for her at an Allen County Library branch.
And that, Friends of the Library, is why library consolidation is such a good idea.

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