Merger talks between the Mid-Wisconsin Federated Library System, which includes Washington County, and the library system in Racine and Walworth counties have ended.
“Those talks were terminated,” County Supervisor Daniel Stoffel told the County Board on Tuesday morning.
“We’ve chosen to stand alone for the time being,” he said.
The suggestion that MWFLS and Lakeshores Library System last summer.
“At the Nov. 26, 2013, system board meeting the Mid-Wisconsin Federated Library System board unanimously voted to not pursue a merger with Lakeshores Library System because it wasn’t in Mid-Wisconsin’s best interest,” MWDLS Director Sue Cantrell said Tuesday.
“The obstacles in the way of merging with Lakeshores was too much to try to overcome,” Stoffel said.
The MWFLS includes the 27 public libraries in Dodge, Jefferson, Walworth and Washington counties. Its 2013 budget was $1.1 million with $754,000 coming from the state. A federal grant and local funding provides the rest. The 2013 budget for Lakeshores was $637,716.
Lakeshores Library System has 15 libraries plus two school district libraries in Racine and Walworth counties.
There are 17 regional library systems in Wisconsin, first organized in 1987. State officials are advocating that fewer systems would provide cost savings. So far, no systems have merged. Prior to last year’s talks between the MWFLS and Lakeshores, only the Manitowoc-Calumet and Eastern Shores (Sheboygan and Ozaukee counties) library systems had discussed a possible merger.
Stoffel said the possibility exists that MWFLS could someday discuss a possible merge with Eastern Shores if that library system is interested.
“There is always the possibility of merging with another system at some point down the road and this could include the Eastern Shores Library System,” Cantrell said. “We currently are not actively pursuing another merger.”