State law requires every public library system in Wisconsin to designate a resource library. While specific duties of a system resource library are not enumerated in the law, systems are required to have an agreement that provides for “backup reference, information and interlibrary loan services from the system resource library, including the development of and access to specialized collections.”
Traditionally, resource libraries have served as large net lenders for interlibrary loan and have provided significant walk-in service to system area residents. Shared catalogs, efficient delivery systems, and the availability of electronic reference resources have diminished these traditional resource library roles in many systems. However, resource libraries can still serve an important leadership function. A resource library can draw on its collections, staff expertise, or other resources to develop new or innovative programs, services, or content of value to the entire system area. A resource library can also lead by example, developing its services in a way that other libraries want to emulate.
Outagamie Waupaca Library System (OWLS) is fortunate to have Appleton Public Library (APL) as its resource library. OWLS relies on APL to lend materials to other libraries, to provide walk-in service to system residents, and to be a leader in the development of collections and services. APL and OWLS have a history of effective cooperation that demonstrates that the whole can truly be greater than the sum of its parts.
You can find more information about Appleton Public Library at http://www.apl.org.