“The library is a wonderful resource for the community,” said board secretary Kim White, “but it’s limited in terms of the availability of popular offerings such as e-books, as well as updated technology.
“When we conducted focus groups last year, our residents asked for things like improved online resources, expanded collections in all formats, expanded children’s, teen and adult programming and updated technology. We simply aren’t able to make those types of improvements under our current model.”
The library has 60,506 books and 11,551 electronic books and employs four full-time and six part-time staff at its 17,000-square-foot-building on Main Street.
“As we looked for ways to ensure we can provide what the community expects from a modern library, we realized a merger offered the best opportunity,” said Elizabeth Schoettle, library director. “We want to offer the best library possible for the residents of Beech Grove, and, frankly, we aren’t able to do that.”
The library has served the community for more than 60 years. Originally established in a storefront, the library moved to its current building in 1953. Since that time, three renovations and additions have been made, the latest in 2002.
“The only way we’d agree to merge is if we had an agreement that the library would remain open in Beech Grove, all staff would be retained and that the library would see an increase in available materials, programs and services,” said board President William “Butch” Fennema. “The only changes the public would see would be improvements.”
But before the board votes on a resolution to form a planning committee, members want to gather feedback from the public through an open house, which will be held from 6-8 p.m. Tuesday, June 23, at the library, 1102 Main St.