County Board considers plan to combine systems in effort to preserve, improves service amid state cuts
A proposed merger of library systems intended to preserve or even improve services in a four-county area including Ozaukee was headed to a key vote this week.
The Ozaukee County Executive Board and County Board were scheduled to vote Wednesday on the proposed merger of the Eastern Shores Library System with the Mid-Wisconsin Federated Library System.
Eastern Shores includes libraries in Ozaukee and Sheboygan counties, and Mid-Wisconsin includes those in Washington and Dodge counties.
Merging the two would alleviate flat state aid experienced over the past several years. Eastern Shores Director Amy Birtell said aid dropped from $640,000 in 2011 to $578,000 in 2012 and hasn’t increased since.
Combined state aid of $1.06 million and efficiencies from economies of scale and other adjustments would lead to enhanced library services for patrons, Birtell said. Eastern Shores would nearly double its more than 600,000 available materials for users.
“We’ll have 1.1 million items. They’ll have access to a lot more material,” she said.
A merger would not impact library programming since each facility operates on its own, Birtell said.