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Comprehensive library planning program prospectus
(April 1968)

Chapter III: need for a regional public library facilities and services plan,   pp. 9-[16] PDF (3.5 MB)


Page 9

Chapter III
NEED FOR A REGIONAL PUBLIC LIBRARY FACILITIES AND SERVICES PLAN
PROBLEMS IN THE PROVISION OF PUBLIC LIBRARY FACILITIES AND SERVICES
In order to establish the need for an areawide plan for library facilities and services in southeastern Wis-
consin, current problems relating to such facilities and services must be identified and analyzed and their
areawide significance established. The Technical Advisory Committee identified nine factors which
together tend to make the provision of adequate public library facilities and services today a regional
rather than a purely local problem and which together create the need for an areawide public library
facilities and services plan. These nine factors are:
1. Rapidly increasing use of library facilities and services.
2. Rapidly changing library service areas.
3. Rapidly increasing types and quantities of library materials.
4. Rapidly increasing demand for a wider variety of library services.
5. Impact of a rapidly changing technology on library facilities and services.
6. Aging of existing library facilities.
7. Shortage of qualified staff.
8. Rising costs of library facilities and services.
9. Lack of region-wide interlibrary cooperation.
Each of these nine factors has been carefully reviewed by the Technical Advisory Committee as they relate
to libraries in southeastern Wisconsin, and a summary presentation of the Committee findings follows.
Rapidly Increasing Use of Library Facilities and Services
While library administrators actively encourage and welcome greater use of library facilities and ser-
vices, increased use is often a major problem in terms of the quality and quantity of service which can be
provided. Three factors serve to intensify the problem of increased use within the Region. The first of
these is rapid population growth. As shown in Table 1, the population of the seven-county Region has
increased nearly 60 percent over the 23-year period from 1940 to 1963. During this period the population
of the Region has increased at a higher rate than that of either the state or the nation, and this rapid
increase has been accompanied by massive urbanization. About 70 percent of the population increase over
this 23-year period was the result of natural increase; that is, of an excess of births over deaths. About
30 percent was the result of net migration; that is, of an excess of persons moving into the Region over
persons moving out of the Region.
It does not appear that the rapid population growth and urbanization being experienced within the Region
will be attenuated in the near future. Population estimates indicate that the population of the Region may
be expected to increase by an additional 1 million people from 1963 to 1990, an increase of over 61 percent
in the 27-year period (see Table 1). The increase in population expected to occur by 1990 represents the
equivalent of the entire population presently residing in Milwaukee County. In terms of library facilities
and services, this expected population will create a need for additional library facilities and services at
least equal to all of the facilities and services presently offered in Milwaukee County.
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