Shorewood, Bay plan library merger study
The Journal staff
The Shorewood and Whitefish Bay library boards expect to hire a consultant this summer to study whether the libraries should be combined and located in one central location.
But representatives from both acknowledge that such an idea would be a hard sell.
“I think that the financial cost savings would have to be so dramatic that people would have to set aside their allegiances to their individual community libraries,” said Chris Nolan, director of Shorewood library services.
She said people viewed library service as extremely personal.
“Each community is real proud of its own library and services,” she said. “It’s not like garbage pickup. This would be a major shift.”
Glenn Moder, a Whitefish Bay village trustee, said the two libraries served as central neighborhood hubs for their communities and closing them would be difficult. The Whitefish Bay Library is at 5420 N. Marlborough Drive; the Shorewood Library is at 3930 N. Murray Ave.
Nevertheless, Whitefish Bay did an earlier study that determined that its 8,000-square-foot library should be expanded to 20,000 square feet. The Shorewood Library has 7,000 square feet, and needs another 18,000 square feet, according to another study.
Both libraries need more space for computers.
“The technological advances that we are thrilled to have require space,” Nolan said.
So the representatives believe this is a good time to look at a possible consolidation.
Shorewood has set aside about $11,000 for a consolidation study, and Whitefish Bay has applied for a similar amount in Community Block Grant funds. Milwaukee County expects to decide on that application by June.
The study is expected to determine how much space the two communities ideally should have, based on the number of books and other materials each of the libraries loan to patrons. And then, how best to meet those needs.
The Shorewood Library is a net borrower Shorewood residents take out more books from other communities’ libraries than Shorewood loans to residents from neighboring communities. The Whitefish Bay Library is a net lender.
The North Shore Library, 6800 N. Port Washington Road, Glendale, serves residents from Bayside, Fox Point, Glendale and River Hills.
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