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Article I: Organization & Membership

Section 1. Name

This organization shall be called the "Bergen County Cooperative Library System, Inc." (hereafter designated BCCLS).

Section 2. Purpose

The purpose of the BCCLS is to promote resource sharing and other cooperative activities among its member libraries.  

Section 3. Services

FULL BCCLS Services shall include:

  1. Shared computer systems for the purposes of patron registration and cataloging and circulating of library materials.
  2. Coordination of resource sharing and reciprocal borrowing among all BCCLS member libraries.
  3. Digital products and services purchased by BCCLS on behalf of the membership.
  4. Providing staff and trustee development opportunities.
  5. Advocacy, public relations and other services provided by BCCLS on behalf of member libraries.

RESTRICTED BCCLS Services (Pay, Courtesy and Institutional Cards) shall only include:

Access to the shared computer system for the purposes of patron registration and circulating materials owned by the contracting library.

Section 4. Qualifications for Membership  

  1. Bergen County Libraries.  Full membership in the BCCLS is open to any municipal or association library having a primary location in a Bergen County municipality and meeting the following qualifications:

    1. All member libraries shall employ, as library director, a “Professional Librarian” (as hereinafter defined). For purposes of these by-laws, the term “Professional Librarian” shall mean a librarian who holds a professional librarian certificate pursuant to N.J.S.A. 45:8A-1 Professional Librarian's Certificate. For purposes of these by-laws, a Professional Librarian shall be “full-time” if such person is employed at the member library for not less than 35 hours per week. Libraries not satisfying this requirement shall do so within six months following the resignation or retirement of the current director.

    2. The member library shall receive from the municipality in which it is located at least the minimum municipal appropriation prescribed by N.J.S.A. 40:54-8 Tax levy, additional levy (1/3 mill) or N.J.S.A. 40:54- 8.1 Limitation on increase in amount raised by taxes, whichever is less. If a member library contracts with one or more other municipalities to provide library services to those other municipalities then in order for the residents of the contracting municipalities to be eligible for BCCLS services those municipalities under such contract are required to pay pursuant to such contracts at least an amount equal to the minimum municipal appropriation prescribed by NJSA 40:54-8 or 40-54:8.1 however, if the municipality formerly had a library that was demunicipalized the amount paid shall be greater if the last appropriation before demunicipalization was greater. No contract shall be made with any other library or municipality on terms that are more favorable than those applicable to members. N.J.S.A. 40:54-8 or N.J.S.A. 40:54-8.1 serves as the foundation of the BCCLS requirement for minimum municipal appropriation. Association libraries are not bound by state law concerning when municipal libraries are to receive appropriation.

    3. The member library shall not charge BCCLS valid card holders for BCCLS reciprocal borrowing or any of the other services provided by BCCLS.

    4. Eligibility for state aid as set forth in NJSA Title 18A Education Chapter 74 State Aid Law serves as the foundation for the member library to meet the requirements of membership. The member library shall meet state aid criteria and therefore be eligible to receive state aid as set forth by N.J.S.A. Title 18A Education Chapter 74 State Aid Law. (Click here for list of criteria). BCCLS members reserve the right to set additional requirements for membership.

  2. Other Libraries.  Full membership in the BCCLS is open to any municipal or association library which is a member of the New Jersey Library Network but does not have a primary location in a Bergen  County municipality, provided that:
    1.  Such member library meets all of the qualifications set forth in paragraph (a); and

    2. Such member library is approved by a two-thirds majority of member Boards of Trustees by resolution following recommendation of Executive Board and System Council.

  3. Contracting not prohibited. Nothing in this Section 4 shall prevent the BCCLS or a member library from contracting to provide library services to individuals, institutions or municipalities not served by a BCCLS library, provided that:

    1. Contracts made with a municipality for an amount equal or greater than the amount required to be appropriated for library services pursuant to N.J.S.A. 40:54-8 shall permit access to BCCLS services as defined in Article 1, Section 3 (Full BCCLS Services); and
    2. Contracts made with an individual(s) (i.e. Pay Card or Courtesy Card), institutions (i.e. Institutional Card) or municipality for an amount less than the amount required to be appropriated pursuant to N.J.S.A. 40:54-8 shall permit the contracting library's use of the shared ILS for the purposes of patron registration and circulation of the contracting library's materials only and shall not permit access to full BCCLS services for contracted cardholders (see Article I, Section 3 - Restricted BCCLS Services); and,
    3. If the contracting municipality formerly had a municipal or an association library, the amount paid shall not be less than the last municipal appropriation before the library ceased operations; and,
    4. The contracting individual (i.e. Pay Card) or municipality agrees to pay the contracting BCCLS member library annually, during the term of such contract.

  4. Failure to Meet Qualifications.
    • Any member library that fails to meet the qualifications for membership set forth in Section 4 will be subject to the consequences and procedures set forth in Section 5 of these Bylaws.

Section 4.1. Obligations of Membership

  1. Each member of the BCCLS shall have the following obligations:

    1. All monetary fees and charges due the BCCLS from a member for computer share charges, database charges, telephone line charges, etc. must be paid in full at the time and in the manner set forth in Policies and Procedures.

    2. The library director or his/her designee from each member library must attend the System Council meetings and may have an excused absence with notification to the Executive Board President for no more than one meeting each year.  In addition, the director or his/her designee must participate in all required BCCLS training programs as specified by the Executive Board.

    3. Each member library must file its Per-capita State Aid report in a timely fashion each year and submit a copy of the report, the CFO Application and the Accuracy Certification to the BCCLS office within seven (7) days of filing the report with the State.

    4. Each member library is required to fill out and return the annual Personnel Survey conducted by the BCCLS by the specified date.
    5. Each year at the Board of Trustees annual reorganization meeting or the equivalent such meeting, the Board President and the Library Director of each member library must sign and file with BCCLS Certification of Agreement that the member library is in compliance with the requirements of membership, the By-laws and the Policies and Procedures of the BCCLS. This signed certification to be submitted no later than March 31st of each year.

    6. In order to maintain membership each member library shall meet state aid criteria and therefore be eligible to receive state aid as set forth by N.J.L.A. Title 18A Education Chapter 74 State Aid Law.

  2. Failure to meet these obligations will result in action by the Executive Board to ensure that these obligations are met.

Section 5. New Members

Libraries applying for admission must present evidence of meeting the requirements of this Article. New members must await the start of the next statistical year before being eligible for reimbursement payments.

Section 6. Withdrawal, Reduction In Privileges and Termination of Membership

  1. Withdrawal of Membership. To withdraw, a member library must provide six (6) months (180 days) written notice to the BCCLS Executive Director. Withdrawal at any time will include forfeiture of any funds, equipment, or services to which the library may have been entitled. Any library that withdraws from the BCCLS will be entitled to a suitable copy of its machine readable records in the database at the cost of downloading.

  2. Removal from Membership.  Any member of the Executive Board or any member library may bring to the Executive Board written charges of non-compliance of a member with the qualifications and obligations of membership set forth in Sections 3 and 3.1 of these By-Laws. The Executive Board will consider the incidents of non-compliance and make a determination based on the following:

    1. Fact-finding will be conducted to determine the validity of the incidents of non-compliance.

    2. If the charges are found to be valid, a written notice to the Director and Board of Trustees will be filed against the non-compliant library. Included in said written notice will be a hearing date, not to exceed thirty (30) days beyond the date of the notice.

    3. The Executive Board will hold a hearing and reach a decision within thirty (30) days of the hearing. The hearing may be conducted, at the discretion of the Executive Board, by a committee consisting of not less than three (3) members of the Executive Board appointed by a majority vote of the Executive Board. Such committee, if authorized, shall render written recommendations to the Executive Board containing findings of facts and recommended conclusions.

    4. If the charges are found to be accurate, the non-compliant library will be given up to thirty (30) days to present a plan to conform to the By-Laws or policies. Such plan shall be subject to the approval of the Executive Board.

    5. If the non-compliant library fails to present a plan, or, having presented a plan fails to conform to the approved plan within the time periods set forth in such plan, or otherwise continues to be non-compliant, the Executive Board will make a recommendation to the System Council of either a reduction in privileges until such time as there has been compliance or termination of the membership of the non-compliant member library. Reductions in privileges may include, but shall not be limited to, the following:

      1. An announcement on the BCCLS website declaring that the library is non-compliant.

      2. No reciprocal (walk-in) or electronic (e-mail) loans will be made to patrons of the non-compliant library.

      3. No access to digital content provided through BCCLS.

      4. Public Access terminals in the non-compliant library may be reduced in number or completely turned off.

    6. The System Council will determine by majority vote whether the privileges of the non-compliant member are to be reduced or the membership terminated by 2/3 majority. A special meeting of the System Council may be called 30 days after the Executive Board recommends termination of membership.

Addendum I. BCCLS Procedures of Executive Board as Recommended by the President For the Failure of Member Libraries to Meet Requirements of Membership

When a member library fails to meet the requirements of membershipbibs  the following procedures are to be followed in an effort to encourage full cooperation:

  1. The President will ask the Executive Director of BCCLS to provide him/her with a list of the member libraries who fail to meet the requirements of membership by failing to provide such things as:

    1. Annual “Certification” signed by the Library Director and Board President

    2. Submission of “Copy of Per Capita State Aid Report” within specified period of time after filing it with the State Library

    3. Failure to submit annual “Salary Survey” information as requested

    4. Non-attendance at the majority of System Council meetings.

    5. Other matters of participation as deemed necessary for the effective operation and growth of the BCCLS organization

  2. The President, at his/her prerogative, shall contact or assign an alternate Executive Board member to contact the offending library or libraries in an effort to encourage participation and/or

  3. The President may publicly call for the information at a System Council Meeting and/or

  4. A call for the information may be made in an “ALL” message, listing the offending libraries

  5. The President, on behalf of the Executive Board, shall write a letter to the offending library's Board of Trustees explaining the importance of the information needed and/or

  6. Whatever other means may be deemed necessary by the Executive Board of the BCCLS.


 Section 2

  • Introduced @ 9/28/2017 System Council meeting
  • Approved @ 10/26/2017 System Council meeting

Section 3

  • Introduced @ 9/28/2017 System Council meeting
  • Approved @ 10/26/2017 System Council meeting

Section 4(a)(ii)

  • Introduced @ 5/16/2013 System Council meeting.
  • Approved @ 9/19/2013 System Council meeting.

Section 4(b)(ii)

  • Introduced @ 6/15/2017 System Council meeting.
  • Approved @ 9/28/2017 System Council meeting.
Section 4.1(a)(i)
  • Introduced @ 9/28/2017 System Council meeting.
  • Approved @ 10/26/2017 System Council meeting.
Section 4.1(a)(ii)
  • Introduced @3/9/2017 System Council meeting.
  •  Approved @ 6/15/2017 System Council meeting.
Section 6(b)(5)(c)
  • Introduced @ 6/15/2017 System Council meeting.
  • Approved @ 9/28/2017 System Council meeting.
(previous) Addendum I (omittion)
  • Introduced @ 6/15/2017 System Council meeting.
  • Approved @ 9/28/2017 System Council meeting.
Addendum I (formerly Addendum II -- name change 9/28/2017)
  • Appended as an administrative function to the Bylaws @ the 8/24/2005 Executive Board Meeting.

Addendum I(1)(d)

  • Introduced @ 6/15/2017 System Council meeting.
  • Approved @ 9/28/2017 System Council meeting.
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