Saskatchewan SILS Project Gets Government Funding

After being skipped over in the most recent budget, Saskatchewan's public libraries are overjoyed that the Provincial Government announced yesterday that they will be putting $5 million towards the Single Integrated Library System project over the next few years.  SILS will create a single card system for the entire province, something that was previously not feasible but with current technologies, is an obvious next step.  Think of it this way – if cities of one million people like Calgary and Ottawa can have a single ILS for their libraries, why not a province of one million people?

There will be a number of advantages once the new system is in place.  As just a couple examples, users who live in bedroom communities but who work and obtain most services in Regina or Saskatoon will no longer have to register for a card in their hometown before being able to ask the wider resources available in the cities as is the current practice.  Although books throughout the province were always available via ILL, now, holds placed on a book anywhere in the province will be no different than a hold placed on a book in a community just down the road within the same library system.

I'm pretty excited as the idea of province-wide cards has been of interest to me ever since I lived in Alberta and was exposed to The Alberta Library.  I even did my major advocacy project on the idea of creating a province-wide library card for Ontario.  That assignment was a perfect example of “hypothetical reality” but I'm glad to see that some of the points we made back then are relevant to SILS today.

An Ontario-Wide Library Card?

View SlideShare presentation or Upload your own. (tags: ontario library)

I'm happy to say that I also played a very small role in this project – partly as the co-chair of the OPAC+ interest group (and I mean “small” as I was on the road doing Internet training in our branches at the time and was unable to contribute nearly as much as I would've liked to) and partly by coordinating the advocacy efforts within Southeast Regional Library.

Anyhow, there's more work to be done tomorrow than there was yesterday.  But this is possibly the single biggest advance in the Provincial Library system in the last twenty years.  Very exciting! 

Comments 2

  1. Anonymous wrote:

    am i reading too much between the lines to see that this might mean a common ILS for the province. c'mon Jason fill in the blanks for me 🙂

    Posted 29 Oct 2008 at 10:29 pm
  2. Anonymous wrote:

    Yep, that's part of it – sorry I didn't make that more clear. They're down to three ILS's for consideration but I don't think the one that represents Evergreen made the cut unfortunately. My own personal opinion but I think that's a decision that librarians in our province will come to regret VERY much five or ten years down the line, just as many regret that we didn't mvoe to a province-wide ILS ten or twenty years ago when automation first happened in many of our regions.

    Posted 30 Oct 2008 at 2:23 am

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