Saturday, January 29, 2011

Illinois Struggles to Maintain Statewide Resource Sharing

Libraries’ budgets strained by patrons’ digital demand.  (Chicago Tribune, 1/29/2011.  Not the most enlightening of headlines.)

Excerpt:    However, the massive state budget deficit has threatened what library officials said is one of the most critical services they provide – the ability for patrons to order hard-to-find titles through an online database and have them delivered to their home libraries within a few days.

Although the interlibrary loan system avoided the budget ax last year, officials at the five parts of the Illinois Library System that serve northern Illinois are preparing to merge staff, services and facilities to save money.

Officials hope the merger, which has been approved by the boards of the five systems, will take effect July 1, in time for the start of the next fiscal year.

Because of budget constraints and space limitations, no single library can offer all of the books and resources that its patrons demand, and the online database and interlibrary loan system automatically increases a library’s holdings to include everything that all member libraries own, officials said.

“The fact is that there won’t be a way to move a book from the University of Illinois to the Downers Grove library, for example, unless you have a statewide system,” said Tom Sloan, the executive director of the DuPage Library System

Related articles:
Systems received funding for rest of fiscal year.  (12/2/2010)
'Illinois was exemplary at one time'.  (5/28/2010)
Layoffs and service cuts in store for North Suburban Library System.  (5/14/2010)
Illinois Library Systems Still Await the Remaining 65% of Their State Funding.  (3/6/2010)
State funding shortage may doom library systems. (2/14/2010)
"Save Illinois Libraries" Campaign Shakes Loose Some Funds. (1/22/2010)
Save Illinois Libraries: Tweeting Up a Storm of Support. (1/20/2010)
Sarah Long: Illinois Regional Library Systems and Boiling Frogs. (1/13/2010)
lllinois Regional Multi-Type Library Systems Hit with Cut in Funding. (8/13/2009)

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