Lake County, IndianaEditorial: Take library merger plans off shelf. (Northwest Indiana Times, 10/3/2011)
Excerpt: If ever there were a sign that public libraries are in trouble, it is the decision in both Hammond and Gary to close library branches to save money.
The Gary Library Board closed the Tolleston branch last November. On March 28, the board voted to permanently close Tolleston and the main branch, in downtown Gary, effective Jan. 1, 2012.
Now the Hammond Public Library is planning to close its two remaining branches, E.B. Hayward and Howard, effective Nov. 1. The main library will remain open.
The library boards cited property tax caps, a frozen tax levy and low collection rates as reasons for the closings.
These closings are in communities that need library services the most.
Libraries are not just places to borrow books, but also places to access the Internet, write resumes and hunt for jobs, and connect with others in the community. It is especially important for young people and others without their own motorized transportation to be able to access library services easily.
And now four options for those important services are being taken away.
It's time once more to discuss forming a single countywide library system, reducing overhead and planning library services more efficiently.
Lake County Public Library