“R.A.I.L.S. Receives Grant from Illinois State Library to Refresh L2” by S.M. O’Connor

The Reaching Across Illinois Library System (R.A.I.L.S.) has received a grant from the Illinois State Library (I.S.L.) to restructure and “refresh” Library Learning (L2), a R.A.I.L.S. spokeswoman announced on Wednesday, May 1, 2019.  The changes should make it more “robust and flexible.”  In 2008, the Illinois Regional Library Systems then existent created L2 as a collaborative effort as a continuing education calendar and it rapidly expanded into a directory of public libraries, school libraries, academic libraries, and special libraries that were system members.

Overtime, it has become tool uses by staff at system member libraries, library systems, Local Library System Automation Projects (L.L.S.A.P.s),[1] and the Illinois State Library as it evolved into a statewide calendar for continuing education, networking meetings, catalog consortium training, and other events.  Library staff members search for and register for these events and track attendance via L2.  They can use L2 to find colleagues of like mind for networking purposes and create e-mail lists based on staffing positions.  Public libraries event use L2 to keep track of non-resident card participation, as required by state law.  L2 provides data on system member libraries such as contact information for staff members; building information; delivery data for interlibrary loans (e.g., codes, routes, and delivery frequency); and Integrated Library System (I.L.S.) types (e.g., standalone, shared catalog consortium).  Since 2011, after the merger of five of the Illinois Regional Library Systems in Northern Illinois and Central Illinois into R.A.I.L.S.,[2] it has been R.A.I.L.S. that maintained L2.

The R.A.I.L.S. will issue a Request for Proposal (R.F.P.) and choose a consultant to work on the project.  The grant period will be eighteen months.  The R.A.I.L.S. will keep system member libraries apprised of developments and give members opportunities to share how they use L2.


[1] In Illinois, a Local Library System Automation Project (L.L.S.A.P.) maintains a union catalog for a catalog consortium.  Each consortium is financed by member libraries and a system grant from the I.S.L.  The R.A.I.L.S. gives financial and in-kind services to three L.L.S.A.P.s: PrairieCat, the Resource Sharing Alliance (R.S.A.), and the System Wide Automated Network (S.W.A.N.).  In addition, there are three consortia that receive only core services from R.A.I.L.S.: Cooperative Computer Services, the Pinnacle Library Cooperative, and the Rock River Library Consortium.

[2] Effective Friday, July 1, 2011, the Metropolitan Library System (M.L.S.), DuPage Library System (D.L.S.), North Suburban Library System (N.S.L.S.), Alliance Library System (A.L.S.), and Prairie Area Library System (P.A.L.S.) merged into the R.A.I.L.S.  On that same date, the Lewis & Clark Library System (LSLS), Lincoln Trail Library System (L.T.L.S.), Rolling Prairie Library System (R.P.L.S.), and Shawnee Library System (S.L.S.) merged into the Illinois Heartland Library System (I.H.L.S.).

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