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Greenwood, county libraries discuss borrowing restrictions

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For years, residents from Greenwood, Whiteland and throughout Johnson County could pop into nearly any library in the county and check out a book.

In 2012, that changed. But library leaders are talking about bringing that option back.

Greenwood residents could again get books, magazines and DVDs from the four county libraries, and county residents could go to the Greenwood library.

Greenwood library leaders were forced two years ago to limit to residents who live within the Greenwood library district boundaries who could check out books at the Greenwood Public Library because a legal agreement with the Johnson County Public Library had expired years prior. State library officials informed the libraries they couldn’t let Greenwood residents use county libraries for free, and vice versa.

Threatened with closure and needing to cut costs wherever it could, the Greenwood library stopped lending to residents who didn’t live within its boundaries, which did not match the city boundaries and created confusion.

The thought then was that sharing services could be a cost the Greenwood library could cut, but now the library is more stable financially and the price of partnering with Johnson County’s libraries looks small, Greenwood library director Cheryl Dobbs said.

“When we first were threatened with closure, we didn’t know all the answers to all those stressors on us,” she said.

Dobbs and Johnson County library director Beverly Martin are discussing a new agreement. The boards from both libraries would have to approve an agreement allowing the library systems to partner again. Dobbs wasn’t sure when the boards might make a decision.

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