Back-to-School for RSA Members

Featured Service

The Resource Sharing Alliance (RSA), one of RAILS shared online catalogs, held back-to-school workshops in July and August for their members. Pictured: Kendal Orrison, RSA Director, welcomes school library staff at the July workshop.

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Program on Affordable Care Act

Featured Service

Handouts from the program, Affordable Care Act: What Libraries Need to Know, can be found on the RAILS website under Useful Links at: Along with the handouts, you will find other valuable resources. The program was presented to a full house on Aug. 26 (and via WebEx and other videoconference locations).
Pictured: Ruth Holst from National Network of Libraries of Medicine, Greater Midwest Region.

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Greetings from IFLA conference

For the past several years, I have been fortunate to attend the annual International Federation of Libraries (IFLA) conference (author's note: always paying my own expenses). IFLA meets every August in a different location. It has been a great opportunity to learn about libraries throughout the world and has made me very appreciative of the strong libraries that we have in the U.S. and of our commitment to open access to information and intellectual freedom. We are lucky to be able to take these things for granted, because they are not available to everyone.
This year we are in Singapore, where there is quite extraordinary public financial support for education and libraries.
Yesterday, I visited the National Library of Singapore, a 16-story building in a prime location of Singapore, next door to the famous Raffles Hotel and down the street from the Suntec Convention Center. Singaporeans are justly proud of their library - here is a quote from the website:
"The National Library is a national knowledge institution empowering individuals and businesses with knowledge and information as it continuously expands its vast array of reference collections and services."
I learned that since the 16-story building opened in 2005, there have been close to four million visits annually. In addition to the public lending library, the building houses: the EnterpriseOne Business Information Services (EBIS) Centre; seminar rooms; exhibition spaces; and a 615-seat theater "designed as an integrated learning centre where individual learning is experienced through both high-tech and high-touch elements." The library is committed to meeting users' needs for "connectivity, efficiency, convenience, and comfort."
The Lee Kong Chian Reference Library, which has a reference collection of over 600,000 items in various formats and subjects, is co-located with the Central Public Library in the same building to "make its diverse library collections and services more accessible to people from all walks of life. This is to cater to those who use the library for different purposes at different stages of their lives, to better meet their evolving learning needs and lifestyle, and support their pursuit of knowledge and passion for learning."
When I was there, the public library was jam-packed with families, students, and advanced technology. Library staff members wear vests with the word "expertise" emblazoned on them. 
They have very impressive mobile services as well; the "Library e-Kiosk" brings added convenience for users and offers a range of services including account information, online card signup, and fine payment. "Library-on-the-go" is a mobile web service that is designed especially for students; they can book study rooms and chat with librarians if they have a question.
The IFLA conference is always rewarding and memorable. It reminds me of how lucky we are in the U.S. to have such a strong library tradition, yet I also find new services or programs that libraries are offering that I can bring back to share with RAILS libraries to help them offer additional services to their communities.
What a great profession!

RAILS Completes Phone System Upgrade

A new phone system has been implemented at all RAILS service centers. The upgraded system will allow RAILS staff members to easily transfer calls between all RAILS facilities. It also generates email notifications to RAILS staff members when a new voicemail message is received along with an attachment containing the audio of the message. 

Phone Number Changes and Locating Phone Numbers
Phone numbers for RAILS staff at the Bolingbrook, Coal Valley, East Peoria, Geneva, Rockford, and Wheeling service centers were changed. All new numbers are indicated on the RAILS website's Contact page. From the left side of this page, you can search by first name, last name, location, and department. You can also click Who to Contact in order to search for a RAILS colleague by specialty.

The new system also includes these toll-free numbers (some are new):

RAILS main toll-free number for all service centers - 866.940.4081

MAGIC - 866.940.4082

PrairieCat - 877.542.7257

RSA - 866.940.4083

SWAN - 866.940.4084

Phone Number for the Talking Book Program
The Illinois Talking Book Outreach Center (ITBOC) serves all counties in Illinois with the exception of the city of Chicago. Contact the ITBOC at

Need More Information?
If you have any questions, please contact Mary Witt, RAILS Communications Director, at mary [dot] witt [at] railslibraries [dot] info.