Librarians and Trustees
Position on Intersystem Service
a condition of membership in Winnefox, all member libraries must
serve all residents of the system area on the same basis as they
serve their own municipal residents. Member libraries have not
been required to serve non-system residents on the same basis.
addition, public library systems are required by state statues
(Section 43.24(2)(g)) to have service agreements with adjacent
library systems. These agreements can be in any service area where
cooperation is mutually beneficial, e.g., continuing education
or delivery. This statute has never required that agreements be
for intersystem on-site borrowing, but the Division for Library
Services (DLS) has always encouraged systems to implement such
has intersystem on-site borrowing agreements with Outagamie-Waupaca
Library System (OWLS), Mid-Wisconsin Library System, South Central
Library System (SCLS), and the Manitowoc-Calumet Library Systems
(MCLS). The Wisconsin Valley Library Service has notified Winnefox
that it is terminating our agreement, effective January 15, 1994.
(WLS has also voluntary intersystem on-site borrowing agreements
with 7 non-contiguous systems in Wisconsin.)
1985, the Wisconsin Legislature passed Section 43.17(10) of the
Wisconsin Statutes requiring that all system member libraries
"honor the valid borrowers' cards" of public libraries in adjacent
public library systems. In March 1992, the Legislature added new
language to the statutes which creates an exception to Section
43.17(10). This section allows a public library to refuse to honor
a valid borrower's card from a library in an adjacent system if
the library doesn't receive reimbursement sufficient to cover
the cost of providing the service. (There is a 500 circulation
threshold.) Consequently, it is possible now for system libraries
to refuse service to residents of adjacent systems.
much discussion and careful consideration, the WLS Board has established
this position to make a stronger recommendation regarding the
provision of intersystem service by member libraries:
intersystem on-site borrowing agreements are in place (e.g.,
with OWLS and SCLS), the terms of the intersystem agreements
define the conditions for extending services. Unless member
libraries formally notify WLS (as specified in membership agreements)
of intent no to comply with intersystem agreement, they are
obligated to serve residents of these systems.
or concerns local libraries may have regarding the provision
of service to residents of these systems must be directed to
WLS. Member libraries should not attempt to resolve any intersystem
inequities at the local level when intersystem agreements are
Where no intersystem on-site borrowing agreements are in place
(e.g., WVLS), the extension of local library services is under
the sole authority of the local library board. Member libraries
that provide a significant level of service, as defined by Section
43.17(11), are not required to serve residents of these adjacent
that member libraries carefully consider whether to provide
a level of service to residents of systems where no intersystem
agreements are in place (Section 43.17(11)), if a significant
service imbalance may result.
a number of reasons why the WLS Board has decided to recommend
that member libraries no provide a significant level of service
to residents from areas where no intersystem agreements are in
effect. These are summarized briefly below:
recommendation is consistent with WLS long-standing philosophy,
embodied in County agreements, that compensation for non-resident
use rests with the user's local community and/or county.
WLS member counties and municipalities continue to fund municipal
library service at a high level. Public officials have expressed
displeasure that some libraries are providing service to residents
of counties that don't provide any compensation.
system and its member libraries should not take responsibility
for other jurisdictions. If a county chooses not to provide
adequate library service, libraries in another system should
honor that choice.
progress has been made to resolve intersystem service inequities.
There is no motivation for a jurisdiction to adequately compensate
another jurisdiction for library service if the service is already
being provided for free.
In an automated environment, one library's policy decisions
can have consequences for another library. It is nearly impossible
for one on-line library to discontinue service to a group of
patrons that another on-line library serves. Please do not hesitate
to contact me if you have any questions about this memo, intersystem
agreements or nonresident use of member libraries.
by the Winnefox Library System Board of Trustees on February 9,