Two regional libraries merge and integrate successfully


Arts and culture

Client focus

Strategy & purpose

Governance & context


Board review

Team development

Board profiling

Tools & methodologies


business case development

The issue

Due to reduced government funding, two provincial libraries were forced to merge and integrate. This collaboration raised an issue because, although the fundamental societal roll of the two libraries were the same, over time the organizations had developed a completely different background, structure and culture. The Chairman of the supervisory board of the newly created library requested us to help with the design of a new governance structure and visionary strategy. Furthermore, we were asked to design a new operational structure in such a way that they would achieve the significant cost savings expected from the merger.

Our approach

We started by advising the Chairman on ensuring that the composition of the new board would be one that was sympathetic to, and understanding of, the change, would be able to fully support the organization in the integration process and would be forward looking.

After the new mission, vision and strategy had been created and agreed we started to design a governance structure and organization to properly support the newly created strategy. We mapped the two existing organizations to the new one and then started to match and merge the old into the new. This involved setting the conditions by which the majority of the staff were able to engage in the change. We also took a role in helping the new organization to handle any redundancies in a sensitive and respectful manner.

The results

By demonstrating a passion and deep understanding of the delicate issues facing the two libraries we were able to successfully support them with the full integration and realization of their plans to create a new, up to date and forward looking strategy for the combined organization. This has resulted in a highly motivated and enthusiastic team, willing and able to face the future in an open and realistic way. Despite the difficult nature of the change, the new situation has met with the approval of the supervisory board, senior management and staff and unions and the new integrated organization is now engaged and driven to face the future in a very positive and optimistic way.

Finally, the successful integration has delivered a cost reduction of >40% on operational costs, a result which was well beyond the initial targets and vindicated the original decision.