A New Chapter in JC Library Services

Writer  /  Amanda Ennis

Readers rejoice! All Johnson County Libraries are helping you expand your reading horizons in a more convenient and enhanced way. Johnson County Public Library [JCPL], Greenwood Public Library [GPL] and Edinburgh Wright-Hageman Public Library [EPL] have come together in a partnership that will positively affect all Johnson County residents. In the recent past, borrowing in each of the county’s libraries has been limited to individuals who live in the respective library’s taxing district. Effective August 1, however, a reciprocal agreement takes effect and allows JCPL cardholders to use basic services at no charge at GPL and EPL. Likewise, GPL and EPL cardholders will now be able to utilize basic services at any of the four JCPL branches: White River, Franklin, Clark Pleasant and Trafalgar.

All three libraries differ slightly regarding services offered as part of the agreement and how the agreement is implemented. Still, this agreement reflects their collective desire to work cooperatively and afford each Johnson County resident the opportunity to enjoy each library’s benefits.

Eligibility & Implementation
On or after August 1, interested individuals can bring their current, local library card and photo ID with current address to the neighboring library they’d like to use. Borrowers can bring a paystub or utility bill if their ID does not show their current address. After filling out a paper application, the library will check with the individual’s home library to ensure his/her account is in good standing with no unpaid fines. If it is, he or she will be granted reciprocal borrowing services.

At GPL, a new reciprocal borrowing card will be issued. JCPL will not issue separate library cards to its reciprocal borrowers. At JCPL branches, borrowers will present their library card from their home library. JCPL’s system will then read and accept the barcodes from the patron’s home library to check out materials. EPL will enter all reciprocal borrowers into a database that will be used to check out materials. Home library cards will not be needed.

Exactly what services reciprocal patrons can access will vary by library. Here’s an overview of some of the privileges and limitations at each library:

Greenwood Public Library

  • Any on-shelf item can be checked out.
  • Borrowers can participate in any GPL program.
  • Borrowers may place items on hold.
  • Online databases may be used in the library.
  • Services that involve contracts with other entities will be limited to residents of the Greenwood taxing district. This includes requesting books from the Evergreen Consortium [allows cardholders to request books from other member Evergreen libraries]. e-books and e-audio books are also contracted through the e-Indiana Overdrive Consortium and are therefore not included in the reciprocal agreement.

Johnson County Public Library Branches

  • Any on-shelf item can be checked out.
  • Borrowers can participate in any JCPL program.
  • Online databases may be used in JCPL branches at the Research Computers.
  • e-books and digital audio books are not available to reciprocal patrons due to licensing restrictions.
  • Borrowers may not place items on hold or request transfers from other JCPL branches.

      Edinburgh Public Library

  • Reciprocal borrowers can use all materials and services provided by the library.
  • Borrowers may place items on hold.

At all libraries, loan periods and fines/fees will be the same for reciprocal and resident borrowers.

Preparing for Growth
With certain growth in patronage, all libraries are preparing for how this reciprocal agreement will affect their library and resources. GPL feels it can anticipate what to expect with this agreement. Not long ago, GPL regularly issued library cards to non-Greenwood residents, though there was not a reciprocal agreement in place at the time. This practice ended in 2012. “Because of this history, we feel we have a fairly good idea of what to expect with this agreement. We don’t expect to have to make immediate changes due to any large influx, but we will certainly be tracking our attendance, resource usage and door count to see if any adjustments will be needed,” shares Cheryl Dobbs, GPL Director.

Similarly, JCPL has a history with reciprocal borrowing. Since 1993, it has been a part of the statewide reciprocal borrowing program known as the PLAC [Public Library Access Card] Program. GPL has participated in the PLAC program since its inception, also.

A New Opportunity to Work Cooperatively
Presently, each library shares a strategic plan that includes increased collaboration with other local libraries. JCPL Director Beverly Martin shares: “Our 2014-2018 Strategic Plan sought to explore all avenues for cooperation and partnership with other county libraries and governmental entities. In conjunction with the County Wide Community Read program that will be launched in all Johnson County libraries starting August 16, this reciprocal borrowing program was a means for providing additional cooperative services to all county residents. JCPL staff and board members are excited about this new opportunity to work cooperatively with GPL and EPL. It will afford the residents of Johnson County an enhanced access to the wealth of resources, programs and services provided by our exemplary public libraries.”

Dobbs adds, “This new agreement seemed to us [GPL] to be a natural next step in our strategic plan and reflects the great relationship we enjoy between libraries. We hope everyone will use the amazing resources available to them in our county. Each of our libraries is unique to the community it serves, and our county is among the most fortunate in the state to enjoy top-notch library services with no non-served areas. We hope this new agreement will highlight the importance of library services and draw in new users throughout the county.”

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