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Old 02-20-2020, 10:47 PM
7,090 posts, read 3,923,526 times
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After a little side discussion on another book thread, my curiosity was piqued enough to ask some questions at one of the local libraries that is part of a statewide interlibrary network.

In a nutshell, this library belongs to a consortium that operates a central warehouse to and from which books requested outside of their “home library town” circulate, like a hub. The books get collected, along with some other important community assets that might not be available in every town. The librarians I spoke with mentioned oxygen tanks and other med equipment as examples of things that had been delivered to towns, along with library books. The drivers are employees, not volunteers, and deliveries circulate regularly (about three times a week for this town, which is more frequent than I expected).

Different systems might have other ways of tying the network together. In the state where I live, there is no fee charged per book. Each library is funded from different sources. One town in the consortium gets money from town tax as well as county property tax, for instance. In another county where I lived before, the many county branch libraries in it had a special Library District fund.

It is a great model for how geographically far-apart towns, with a wide range of budgets and local populations and different reading tastes, can form a whole that is greater than the sum of the parts. And it operates so smoothly and unobtrusively that most people take it for granted, one of those services that only gets noticed if it terminates due to lack of funding.

Would that other societal institutions at all levels worked so well together...
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Old 02-21-2020, 04:41 PM
Location: By the sea, by the sea, by the beautiful sea
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I completely agree, my county's library system in and of itself is quite good, the ability to borrow things they don't have from other systems makes it better.
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