At last week’s meeting, the Board of Directors of the Illinois Heartland Library System (IHLS) voted with regret to suspend the Champaign Public Library (CPL) from membership with the System. Suspension from System membership means that the Library is not eligible to participate in any System service, such as delivery, interlibrary loan and reciprocal borrowing. Additionally, the Library is ineligible for state and federal grants administered by the Illinois State Library.
This difficult action was taken by the Board because of Champaign Public Library’s violation of the Illinois Heartland System’s Resource Sharing Policy that states: “A public library shall not sell a separate use card to residents who live in another legally established library service area that taxes for library service.” The current policy of the Champaign Public Library requiring patrons of Mahomet Public Library District and Tolono Public Library District to purchase a Champaign library card for reciprocal patronage and interlibrary loan of Champaign Public Library’s materials is the issue at hand.
On October 28, 2011 the Illinois State Library responded to the notice of suspension from IHLS, and the Champaign Public Library will have sixty days before the suspension is activated. During that time, it is the sincere hope of the Illinois Heartland Library System’s Board of Directors that a cooperative effort can be made with the Champaign Public Library Board of Directors to reach a solution that best serves the needs of Illinois library patrons.
For additional information, please contact Leslie Bednar, Executive Director, Illinois Heartland Library System. Ms. Bednar can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or at (618) 656-3216, ext 120 or see this document on the laws and policies on resource sharing and reciprocal borrowing in Illinois Library Systems.
What does suspension mean?
The Administrative Code (3030.115) describes suspension as follows: “During the period of suspension, a library cannot participate in any system services and has no obligation to the system, except obligations specifically incurred prior to the date of suspension. If the library does not reestablish its membership in the system within three years of the date of suspension, or if a library receives three suspensions within a period of three consecutive years, the State Librarian shall terminate the library’s membership in the system.”
How would Champaign Public get back into the system?
The corrective measure that needs to be taken is to demonstrate to the IHLS Board of Directors that Champaign Public Library is no longer violating the IHLS Resource Sharing Policy by selling library cards to patrons who live in a legally established library service area that taxes for library service.
What has been done prior to this notification of suspension to resolve this issue?
The director and a board member of the Illinois Heartland Library System met with representatives of all libraries involved in this matter (Champaign Public Library, Mahomet Public Library District and Tolono Public Library District) to discuss the situation. In addition, prior to the October board meetings of the Illinois Heartland Library System and the Champaign Public Library, there was written communication with the director and the board members of Champaign Public to specifically outline the issues and consequences regarding system membership.
If the issue is between the Champaign Public Library and the Tolono and Mahomet District Libraries,
why is Champaign the only one being suspended?
Tolono and Mahomet have not violated any policies of the Illinois Heartland Library System.
Should my library continue to fill interlibrary loan requests from the Champaign Public Library?
Yes, all IHLS system services to Champaign Public Library will continue unless the suspension is activated in sixty days following an acknowledgement from the Illinois State Library that they have been informed of the suspension. Please note that between November 1 and December 8, 2011 Champaign Public Library has placed restrictions on Interlibrary Loan for patrons because of their migration to a new automation system.
Should my public library continue to honor reciprocal borrowing patron cards from the Champaign Public Library?
Yes, all IHLS system services to Champaign Public Library will continue unless the suspension is activated in sixty days following an acknowledgement from the Illinois State Library that they have been informed of the suspension.
What is the impact of a suspension on Champaign Public Library?
If a suspension is activated, Champaign Public Library will lose benefits it currently receives by virtue of being a member of the Illinois Heartland Library System. Those would include:
- Interlibrary Loan
- Reciprocal Borrowing Privileges
- The Public Library Per Capita Grant. In FY11, that amount was $77,009.68.
- Eligibility to apply for any other grant funding from the Illinois State Library.
What is the impact of this suspension on IHLS? Is there a monetary impact on IHLS?
The most immediate impact is the shift this will cause in delivery if the suspension of the Champaign Public Library becomes active. In addition, since resource sharing has always been a core value of the library service in Illinois, the loss of a valued public library partner in this endeavor has a very sobering impact. An active suspension of Champaign Public Library will not have an impact on the Area and Per Capita funding that IHLS receives.