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Library and Information Science Paper (ID LIS063001)

Yoshikazu HINATA
The Issues of Libraries in Merger of the Municipality in Japan
No.63, p.1-18
Issue date

Purpose: In Japan, 1,968 municipalities have merged between 1999 and 2005. It seems that this large-scale merging of cities, towns and villages had a great influence on the public libraries. The purpose of this paper is to examine the issues discussed at the time of the merger and to define the future issues of libraries in such merged municipalities.

Methods: Questionnaires were sent out to main libraries of 483 municipalities that had merged into a single one respectively. Among them, 321(66.5%)libraries responded the questionnaires, which are analysed in this paper.

Results: The problem discussed most frequently at the time of merging is how the level of services can be adjusted between individual libraries after merging, e.g., adjustment of opening hours or library regulations for lending books. On the other hand, the issue of unifying library policies was not considered so much. These results show that the libraries have to give priority to issues on services that directly affect the users, because library staff didn't have enough time for discussion on them before the merger. The most common issue after the merger is to obtain enough budgets for purchasing library materials. Reorganization of the library is a future issue, too. Moreover, the libraries must consider how the service should be provided in geographic areas increased newly by the merger in a situation of severe fiscal limitations. To study more detailed library policies and organization in post merger of municipalities are also further research projects.

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