Few Changes for Patrons with Library Switch

When Shorewood-Troy and Joliet libraries finalize their new consortium Thursday, patrons should expect only a minor impact.

Joliet Public Library is proud of the fact that they have never limited access to checking out books or electronics or electronic devices to library card holders.

And that will not change Thursday, when the library joins and four others in a new consortium - Pinnacle Library Cooperative. The two libraries formerly were part of PrairieCat, which had 70 member libraries.

"It had grown too large," Director Dianne Harmon said of PrairieCat. "We felt that we would have a lot more flexibility in how we designed the service."

One of the issues that troubled the two libraries was the idea of delivering books. Under PrairieCat, each of the 70 libraries would offer books to patrons of their PrairieCat partners and would pay for the delivery of those books. There is grant money that covers that cost now, but library officials worried what would happen if the grant money stopped coming.

"Right now, state of Illinois pays delivery," Shorewood-Troy library director Jennifer Cisna Mills said.

When PrairieCat was larger, about 90 libraries, that cost to each library would be about $20,000 if the grant money ended.

With only six libraries in Pinnacle, the cost is significantly less.

Impact to borrowers

Although the libraries will no longer ship books back and forth to further away libraries, you will be able to use your library card to borrow books from any of the member libraries, which includes Plainfield, Fountaindale, Lemont and White Oak, serving Romeoville, Crest Hill and Lockport.

The only proviso is patrons will need to register at each library that is not their home district. When the libraries were all under the same system, each could look up your library card.

"We will have to take a couple minutes and register them in our new system," Harmon said.

For patrons of what will now be Pinnacle Library Cooperative, borrowing from a PrairieCat library will still be allowed, but placing holds on materials will not.

"The biggest difference is that Pinnacle Library cardholders will not be able to place holds in PrairieCat," said Mary Soucie, executive director of , which serves Channahon and Minooka and is not part of the new Pinnacle consortium.

That rule is one set forth by PrairieCat, and Three Rivers does not have the ability to change it.

Three Rivers has already limited checkouts of its e-readers and laptops to Three Rivers cardholders.

Some Channahon residents who live within the village limits but are part of the Shorewood-Troy Public Library taxing district are frustrated by the change.

"We have some patrons that are concerned because they won't have access to our materials," Soucie said. "They're frustrated because they can no longer put holds on materials."

Soucie said Three Rivers wasn't invited to become part of the new consortium.

"We were not asked to join Pinnacle," she said. "I honestly don't know what we would have done, but we were not given the option."

Katie Hartke June 18, 2012 at 02:55 AM
I am frustrated by the change. I live closer to Three Rivers but I am in the Troy Library area. I liked being able to use the closer library to me and now I have to drive out of my way to get materials that I want to read. With the increase in gas prices I try to structure my errands to save gas. Now I have to drive out of my way to get books that I want to read from other libraries. I wish Troy would have considered all of their patrons. With the explosion in population maybe the library boundaries need to be redrawn or reevaluated.
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