October 17, 2017

Consolidation of Illinois Library Systems Approved

Illinois Secretary of State and State Librarian Jesse White has approved the merger of five northern and central Illinois library systems. The new Reaching Across Illinois Library System (RAILS) will begin operations on July 1, 2011. The merging systems are Alliance Library System (ALS), DuPage Library System (DLS), Metropolitan Library System (MLS), North Suburban Library System (NSLS), and the Prairie Area Library System (PALS).

“As members of the Illinois library community, we must seek to ensure the strength and duration of our foundation of interlibrary cooperation,” Anne Craig, Director of the Illinois State Library, said in a press release.

Su Erickson, President of the Merger Transition Board, said in the release, “We are very pleased to receive the approval of Secretary of State and State Librarian Jesse White to merge our five systems in order to reduce operating costs and continue to provide critical services to libraries and their users. The merger has been a cooperative and collaborative effort among the boards of the five systems, the Merger Transition Board, and the Illinois State Library.”

RAILS services will be provided to more than 1,500 public, private, university, and school library members at more than 3,700 library locations in a 27,000 square mile area, according to Tom Sloan, the director of the DuPage Library System.

More information about the merger is available here.

See also in LJ:

Libraries in Illinois Rethink Key Statewide Infrastructure

Michael Kelley About Michael Kelley

Michael Kelley (mkelley@mediasourceinc.com) is the former Editor-in-Chief, Library Journal.



  1. Too bad the newest information from the Illinois State Library may shut down state-wide system operations as of July 1. By blocking key insurance purchases being made ahead of time, both new systems may be forced to go on a “temporary hiatus” of all operations. Interesting that the one of the main reasons for the merger, to ensure no stoppage of services, may in fact now cause one much greater than ever anticipated.


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