The State Library regularly receives requests for
information regarding the legal and practical issues involved in creating a
combined school and public library. Such
libraries are typically housed in a single facility and, ideally, they should
provide both the curriculum support functions of the school library and the
service functions of the public library for the community.
- There are significant
obstacles inherent in combining libraries, as evidenced by the fact that only a
handful of such libraries exist in Iowa and the surrounding states.
- While operating joint
libraries is often seen as a way for cities and school districts to save money,
per capita expenditures have actually increased in the last five Iowa communities
where school and public libraries combined.
- Based upon data collected by the State
Library, combined libraries are much less likely to meet public library
accreditation standards in order to qualify for direct state aid.
The publication below, Is a Combined School / Public Library Right for Your Community?, assists Iowa
communities in making informed decisions on whether to combine school and public library
provides decision-makers with a means of assessing the feasibility of
establishing a combined library and, if the decision is made to proceed, with a
Planning Guide that addresses the many areas of library operations that need to
be considered if the combined library is to be successful.