Happy New Year from RAILS!

Dear RAILS members,

On behalf of the RAILS Board and staff, Happy New Year!

Thank you so much for all of your dedicated work on behalf of Illinois libraries and users throughout 2018. Looking back over our 2018 accomplishments, I see how many of them came as a result of the collaboration and sharing between RAILS members from all types of libraries (academic, public, school, and special). As I often say, we are stronger together, and this was definitely proven this past year.

One of RAILS' biggest accomplishments was the development of a new RAILS strategic plan. We couldn't have done this without you! Your feedback and insightful responses to the "what keeps you up at night?" question were incredibly valuable in helping us understand the changing and varied needs of libraries. Thanks to everyone who provided feedback, whether by attending one of the "listening tour" sessions we held throughout our area and online, (including sessions for academic, school, and special libraries), or by completing our needs assessment survey. Our new plan is heavily based on this feedback and also has the flexibility to meet your changing needs in the future.

We also rolled out a new logo in 2018. It suggests an infinity symbol and indicates that all of our work-resource sharing, continuing education, member communication and engagement, etc. is always moving forward and never quite complete. Now both our brand and strategic plan focus on moving RAILS and our libraries forward and helping our members to be the best they can be.

So what does the New Year hold? In addition to continuing to provide the ongoing programs/services our members have told us are so important to them, including continuing education and consulting, economical access to e-resources (BiblioBoard, eRead Illinois, etc.), delivery, support for consortia, discounts, etc., here are just a few of our plans for 2019 based on your feedback:

  • Continue to grow Find More Illinois. No matter what your library type or current catalog situation (nonautomated, standalone, or member of a consortium), Find More Illinois can greatly improve your resource sharing options.
  • Roll out Explore More Illinois, the online museum/attractions pass program we have been working on. We've had a few technical delays and will be ready to introduce our members to Explore More in 2019.
  • Conduct a campaign throughout 2019 to help all of our libraries "tell their stories" more effectively and to better promote their value to users, potential users, parent institutions, governing boards, funders, elected officials, colleagues, and other stakeholders.
  • To accomplish these important goals, we also need to hire new RAILS staff. A few key, long-time staff members left RAILS to pursue new opportunities last year, and while we will miss them, this gives us an opportunity to determine what new skillsets we need to meet your changing needs.

Again, Happy New Year and thank you for your support in 2018! All of us at RAILS look forward to collaborating and engaging with you in 2019 as we all work together to improve library service and to tell the library story.

Deirdre Brennan Signature

Deirdre Brennan
RAILS Executive Director

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