Central Ohio libraries combine resources

Posted: Wednesday, September 26, 2012, 3:09 pm

Worthington Libraries, Columbus Metropolitan Library and Southwest Public Libraries have made the strategic decision to join the Central Library Consortium (CLC) in 2013. This partnership results in 11 library systems serving 1.4 million residents across six counties with nearly 1.2 million unique titles.

"We are pleased to have this opportunity to advance our goal of increased resource sharing and excited about the possibility of greater collaboration and cooperation among public libraries in central Ohio and beyond," said Worthington Libraries Director/Chief Executive Officer Chuck Gibson. "It will help us better meet the information demands of the communities we serve in a time of diminished state funding for libraries."

The CLC is a 25-year-old partnership among library systems who share materials, resources, servers, licenses, group purchases and even staff while remaining strong, independent library systems. Libraries in the consortium include: Alexandria, Fairfield County, Grandview Heights Public Library, Marysville, Pickaway County, Pickerington, Plain City and Wagnalls Memorial.

"We are very excited about this partnership and we think it's a wonderful opportunity for all of our library systems," said Ryan McDonnell, CLC governing council chair and the director of Marysville Public Library. "The CLC Board voted unanimously to welcome Columbus Metropolitan Library, Worthington Libraries and Southwest Public Libraries into the consortium. This will open so many doors for our library systems."

This opportunity presented itself when Columbus Metropolitan Library, Worthington Libraries and Southwest Public Libraries chose to make Polaris Library Systems its new integrated library system (ILS) because all of the libraries in the CLC also operate with Polaris. An ILS is the core software that manages library business. It keeps track of items the library purchases, materials that have been borrowed, patron information, fines and fees, everything a library needs to control inventory and communicate with patrons. The Columbus Metropolitan Library Board of Trustees voted September 26 to make Polaris Library Systems its new vendor for its ILS. In that same meeting, the Board voted to join the CLC. The Worthington Libraries Board of Trustees approved this on September 18.

"Joining the CLC is a win-win for libraries and our customers throughout central Ohio," said Patrick Losinski, chief executive officer of Columbus Metropolitan Library. "Polaris will give us the ability to better manage our resources, connect with customers and reduce costs. Our current in-house system has stood the test of time but it is now time to move into the next generation of library service and new technology. All governments and non-profits have been challenged to look for ways to collaborate, save resources, and offer better services Libraries have been and continue to be at the forefront of this movement."

Put simply, any patron from any of the libraries in the CLC will be able to borrow materials from any library in the consortium. Sharing services and materials will standardize patron experiences within the systems, making them more efficient and less costly. All these library systems appreciate the value of collaboration in a time that funding from the state has been diminishing. Worthington Libraries, Columbus Metropolitan Library and Southwest Public Libraries have been partners in sharing a catalog and materials for over 20 years.

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