Centralization versus Decentralization: A Location Analysis Approach for Librarians.

by Robert Shishko, J. Raffel

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An application of location theory to the question of centralized versus decentralized library facilities for a university, with relevance for special libraries. Locating university libraries near classrooms, offices, and dormitories costs more than combining these libraries into a centralized facility. Yet a centralized facility entails a cost to the university community that does not appear in the university budget--a cost in time, energy, and decreased use resulting from locating the library farther from users. By examining economies of scale simultaneously with the cost of overcoming distance, the analyst can determine optimal location and size of libraries for a given level of services. If a campus is to have one centralized library, it should be located where transportation costs to users are minimized for a given level of benefits. For multiple libraries, the factors become more numerous and complex. The analysis provides models for single, multiple, and decentralized libraries. 22 pp. Ref. (Author)

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