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Public libraries across the country are facing mounting pressure from governing authorities to regionalize, downsize, and become more cost-efficient. Staying ahead of the curve, the four directors of the public libraries serving Scott County, Iowa, made it their business to determine how their respective communities would regard those choices.
"Libraries Together," a year-long 2005 study financed by a grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services as well as several local sources, has given the four directors--Faye Clow of Bettendorf Public Library, Pam Collins of Scott County Library System, Kim Kietzman of LeClaire Community Library, and LaWanda Roudebush of Davenport Public Library--valuable insight into what changes their patrons would and would not find acceptable. The final report, "Weighing the Options: Libraries in Scott County," has also provided a starting point for a proactive effort to use collaboration to enhance the quality of services the four libraries deliver.
The impetus came from Gov. Tom Vilsack and local leaders, who all expressed strong interest in seeing Davenport-area governing authorities share or consolidate public services-including libraries. Clow, Collins, Kietzman, and …