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Shorewood Library Shakeup

The Shorewood-Troy Public Library is joining a new network but will continue to provide the same great service.

The Shorewood-Troy Public Library currently is a member of the Prairie Area Library System (PALS).

PALS is a group of public, school, and special libraries that work together to share materials, deliver the items from one library to another, and provide support for libraries and their staffs. If you’ve ever requested a book at the Shorewood-Troy Public Library, and received a book from another library, you’ve made use of PALS.

There are currently nine library systems in the State of Illinois. However, due to budget cuts at the State of Illinois, the nine systems are merging into two very large systems. This is being done to reduce administrative costs. In fact, as of July 1 the Shorewood-Troy Public Library will belong to the Reaching Across Illinois Library System (RAILS) which will cover the entire Northern part of the State.

Five systems will be merging to form RAILS: Alliance Library System, DuPage Library System, Metropolitan Library Systems, North Suburban Library System, and Prairie Area.

I’ll be honest, librarians are ... nervous. There are a lot of details to still be worked out (even though it feels like I’ve spent the entire last year at meetings trying to work things out). How do we deliver books across such a wide territory efficiently and cost-effectively? The cultures of the libraries range widely – there are very small, rural libraries included, small to medium-size suburban libraries, and very large urban libraries. How do we manage to serve all of the different kinds of libraries? How is the money for the larger system all going to shake out?

We may be uncertain about lots of things, but I do know some things for sure:

  • The Shorewood-Troy Library will be here to serve our patrons’ needs for years and years to come. The State’s fiscal problems are not our fiscal problems.
  • Sharing materials and delivery will continue. It may change over time, but it will continue.
  • The Shorewood-Troy Library will continue to belong to PrairieCat, our online catalog. You will still look up books and place holds on books in the same catalog that you are used to.
  • Our staff will continue to be warm and friendly as we work through the transition on our end.

If you have any questions about any of this, please contact me at 815-725-1715 or email me at jmills@shorewoodtroylibrary.org.

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