Five Things You Should Know About WCCLS

  1. WCCLS is a partnership between the County, nine cities and two non-profit organizations to provide public library service to all county residents. A “cooperative” structure like this is rather unusual in Oregon, but it was chosen as a way to link together existing public libraries and services with an overlay of county funding. This partnership started in 1976—think 70’s coops and sharing!
  2. The County does 3 things in the partnership: First, the County is the primary funding source for public library operations—about $16.6 million this year and about 80% of the whole WCCLS budget is distributed to member libraries for operations. Second, WCCLS provides support services to member libraries like the library catalog, the website, courier deliveries, Internet access, reference and interlibrary loan, publicity, youth services support and such. Third, WCCLS provides outreach to special populations including mail delivery to Homebound residents, Jail Library staff, outreach to Spanish speaking residents, and early literacy training and outreach. WCCLS also manages the West Slope Library, which is the only county-run library.
  3. Local determination and decision-making is a time-honored principle. Member libraries provide facilities, determine local policies, staffing, programs, hours, etc., and agree to “play well with others” by treating all borrowers the same.
  4. Funding: where does it come from? About 2/3 of WCCLS funding comes from the County's General Fund—it is the remnant of our serial levy that was rolled into the County’s General Fund tax base in 1998 by Ballot Measure 50. The County has continued to direct those funds to WCCLS. The other 1/3 of the money comes form the countywide local option levy. FY08-09 is year 2 of this 4 year levy; we will need to go back to voters in November 2010 to renew the levy.
  5. Committees: as a “cooperative” we expect participatory decision-making! This is like a marriage of 12. The WCCLS Policy Group and the WCCLS Executive Board are advisory to WCCLS. The Policy Group has multiple committees to advise it on various service areas: WCCLS Users Group, Reference, Youth Services, and Publicity.