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All Things BCCLS

All Things BCCLS

Reciprocal borrowing, whereby a patron's hometown library card is honored at all BCCLS member libraries, is likely one of the most popular services your library offers.  In 2011 more than 1 million items were requested electronically by BCCLS members and another 1.3 million items were borrowed by direct patron walk-in. 

BCCLS means access to more books, films and CDs than any one library can possibly provide and, in turn, BCCLS means better, more cost-effective service for your patrons.

The cornerstone of BCCLS is resource sharing: shared items, a shared circulation system and online catalog, shared technical and professional expertise and shared responsibility for the well-being of the cooperative.

Shared responsibility is more than paying your BCCLS bill, although that is important, too.  At the heart of BCCLS is the understanding that every library contributes its fair share.  Every library, for instance, is expected to purchase enough bestsellers or popular DVDs to meet local demand.    There are many libraries that borrow more than they lend, but everyone is expected to “lend and send” whatever it is they have -- not erect barriers to certain collections.  Often the libraries that are the biggest borrowers are also the biggest lenders.     

Similarly, if your building is closed for any reason or there are interruptions in service, contributing your fair share means your library is not exempt from obligations, financial or otherwise, to other BCCLS members.  Your community remains responsible for providing support to those other BCCLS libraries that serve your patrons in the interim.

Each member library is responsible for providing quality service to every patron who uses its services.  In reality, we share not only materials, but also each other's patrons.  Other libraries depend on your staff to send requested materials in a timely manner.  Your neighboring libraries depend on you to welcome their patrons just as you welcome your own residents.  Excellent service makes all of us look good.  Poor or mediocre service in one BCCLS library is bad publicity for us all.

Every member library is responsible for observing BCCLS policies and procedures.  Relationships between BCCLS members are regulated by policies and procedures developed in a BCCLS committee of library staff, vetted by the BCCLS Executive Board and approved by the BCCLS membership.  These policies and procedures are created to serve the good of the whole, so that every library benefits and no one library benefits at the expense of others. 

In the end, the glue that holds BCCLS together is our mutual concern and cooperation.  It is also the secret of BCCLS' success for over 30 years.  We are proud to include your library as a valued member of BCCLS and look forward to strengthening that relationship.  

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