Value & Return on Investment
SJVLS members benefit from the economies of scale in purchasing one very large capacity system rather than ten separate systems that would range from small to very large.
SJVLS' shared ILS and network reduces costs to the members and also makes it easy to share the library collections owned by each member. This is a key purpose and outcome of the shared ILS and network. Library patrons can easily locate items not available in their home library and request that they be sent to their library. SJVLS contracts with Fresno County to provide delivery several times each week to each member. Members with multiple facilities are responsible for distributing items to their branches. Patrons make very good use of the shared collection and the ease of accessing it either in the library or 24/7 from computers and mobile devices. They can easily request items shown in the shared catalog. Staff at the owning library then pulls and labels the item and sends it to the borrowing one via the SJVLS delivery system. In FY 2011/12, over 600,000 items were borrowed through this inter-library loan capability. These loans accounted for nearly 8% of SJVLS' s total circulation.
SJVLS staff specifies and purchases technology equipment and supplies on behalf of all the members. This reduces the costs to members for purchasing activities and often results in lower prices due to bulk purchasing discounts.
SJVLS staff manages the entire e-rate participation process for all the libraries from application to accounting to facilitating and responding to an audit. This can be very time consuming. Many libraries pay consultants for some or all of these tasks and some public libraries forgo participation because they expect the communications discounts to not be worth the costs and efforts. The cumulative costs for each of the ten members to manage e-rate participation would be considerably more than doing so through SJVLS.