CHAUTAUQUA-CATTARAUGUS LIBRARY SYSTEM
DIRECT ACCESS PLAN
1. Describe how all individuals residing within the boundaries of the system but outside a member public library’s chartered to service area will receive library services.
Since the System’s establishment in 1960, all residents of Chautauqua and Cattaraugus Counties have been able to use any member library within the two counties under the same rules and restrictions with which it serves its chartered to serve population. When joining the System, each member signed a contract to that effect. Neither the System nor its member libraries may charge system residents for library cards and all provide free onsite use of computers and access to the Internet. The Library System receives funding from both counties which it in turn distributes to its members in the form of aid through a program called Materials Plan. A major reason for the Materials Plan is to compensate the member libraries for serving residents of the two counties living outside their chartered-to-serve areas. The Materials Plan rewards libraries for increasing their hours of public service.
2. Describe how the system will assure that those persons living within the system boundaries in an area where a member library chooses to withdraw from the system, or where a chartered and registered library was never a member of the system, will be served by the system.
Should a member library choose to withdraw from the System, the residents of that chartered-to- serve area will continue to be eligible to receive service at any other library within the System. At this time, the System area has no chartered and registered libraries which are not members of the System.
3. Describe what the system considers “serious inequities and hardships” and the criteria used by the system to make the determination.
The System does not believe that any serious inequities and hardships exist within its area that would prevent one library from serving the entire System’s population with no restrictions or limits. Traditionally, this System’s members have always cooperated with one another. Members believe that service to all the residents of the System’s area must be delivered on an equal footing inasmuch as all residents are subject to State and County taxes which support library services. A robust delivery system allows member libraries to share materials, and member libraries encourage their patrons to use other libraries if they cannot provide the needed service or materials. The System provides access to an online shared catalog and eBook database. All of the System’s member libraries meet all of the State’s standards.
4. Describe what constitutes excessive out of chartered service area borrowing in the system.
There is no reason to believe that excessive out of chartered service area borrowing exists on the part of any member library because serving the entire population of the two counties has always (for the 52 years of the System’s existence) been a condition of membership in the System.
5. A. Describe the unserved and the underserved populations with the system. B. Describe the criteria used by the System to identify libraries as having an inadequate level of local income to support the delivery of acceptable library services (underserved). List those libraries so identified. C. Describe the actions the system will take to expand the availability of library services to unserved and underserved individuals residing within the boundaries of the system. D. Provide a timetable for such actions. E. Identify who will be responsible for carrying out these actions.
Because all residents of the two counties may freely use any one of the 36 libraries within the System, there are no unserved or underserved populations within this System’s area, except those individuals who may not choose to use library services. Special outreach services are and will continue to be available to disadvantaged and/or challenged residents: Literacy training for the illiterate, service to the blind and visually handicapped and the deaf, rotating collections of special interest videos to member libraries, jail services for the incarcerated, deposit collections for resident of nursing homes and other institutions. Moreover, because every member library receives county funding through the System, by contract there are no legally unserved persons. The mission of the Chautauqua-Cattaraugus Library System has always been and will continue to be to expand and improve library service and because of its success during the past 52 years, it has allowed its members, through its services and grants, to vastly improve and expand their services to the unserved and underserved to the extent that there are no such populations within the System’s areas except by the individual’s choice.
6. Describe the conditions under which modifications to the free direct access plan can be made: a. Without the prior approval of the Commissioner of Education; b. With the prior approval of the Commissioner of Education.
Because a requirement of System membership by all of its member libraries is free direct access for all residents there are no conditions either with or without the prior approval of the Commissioner of Education under which modification to this free direct access plan may be made.
7. Describe how the system will assure that member libraries are complying with the system free direct access plan approved by a majority of member libraries.
Each member library will receive a copy of this plan following its approval by the System Board, a majority of the System’s members, and the Education Commissioner. To maintain its membership in the System, it must comply with the plan. The absence of complaints by the public and by member libraries as well as check-up visits by System field consultants at periodic intervals have been and will be construed as compliance with this plan. As this plan has been the same one under which the System has been operating since its beginning, it is highly unlikely that any member will not comply. In that event, the library will be reminded of the requirements for membership in the System, what benefits derive from that membership, and the consequences of losing its privileges as a member. Any member which after a warning delivered by the System Board fails to comply with the free direct access will be dropped from System membership.
8. Describe how the system obtained member library input to the plan for direct access.
The Co-Central Library Directors and staff collaborated to update the plan following three meetings of a ten-member Long Range Plan Steering Committee (System Board members Mary Bivens and Pat Smith; System administrators Linda Mielke and Tina Scott; member Directors Lance Chaffee, Janice Dekoff, Eli Guinnee, and Jacqueline Hovey; and System Consultants Megan Disbro and Pat Johnson). The draft Direct Access Plan was submitted to member library directors for further input.