November, 2017

Hello, I wanted to touch base and report on a big process that occurred throughout 2017.  We have had an exciting year for the public libraries in Venango County as we’ve embarked on a process to officially partner together!  This partnership has come together under the name of Oil Region Library Association (ORLA).  With increased efforts over the past several years, the libraries have been able to combine forces and work out arrangements that will bring all three public libraries in the county (Cooperstown, Franklin, Oil City) all under the umbrella of ORLA by January 1, 2018.  So, what does this mean for you?

For the most part, this partnership has already taken effect from the patron’s point of view.  You currently get a county card when registering that allows you to borrow items from any location, return items to any location, renew items from all locations at one time, and set your pickup preferences for holds to any location.  The loan periods and overdue fines or rental fees are also the same for each location to make it easier for everyone to remember.  Convenient, right?!

So what is new then?  Our administrative staffing has decreased to allow for some cost savings and our standards for hiring have been adjusted to create more flexibility within each library.  Certain staffing duties have been consolidated to minimize duplication at each location.  This means we are able to get more done behind the scenes together and allow each library location to focus on providing services to the public.  We can also spread the same message collectively throughout the county!

Since the partnership began to take hold, our libraries launched various cooperative initiatives beyond sharing resources.  Most notably, we all participated in a three-week mega book sale in October that provided over 100,000 quality, affordable items for people to boost their own home collections in addition to providing a nice fundraising opportunity.

We look forward to 2018 and expanding our cooperative efforts!  We always encourage feedback from the public on how we can improve and provide the best libraries for our communities so stop in, give us a call or email us to keep the conversation going.

April, 2017

Venango County Libraries to Form Partnership

The three Venango County public libraries (Oil City, Franklin, and Cooperstown) will be embarking on a new, official partnership, beginning in April 2017.  Each library will become a branch of the Oil Region Library Association (ORLA) and multiple members from the existing library boards will be members on the ORLA board.

“The libraries have always shared a similar purpose,” said Dan Flaherty, Director of the Oil Region Library Association. “Now we can concentrate on a unified mission that allows us to best serve all our patrons within our service area in Venango County.”

Each library will continue to operate in their respective locations, meaning funds received and designated for specific branches will be spent accordingly and each location will continue to have its own advisory board that is tasked with focusing on their specific branch. The partnership allows the libraries to better cooperate and benefit the community.

“Each current library will continue to focus its efforts on providing for the local residents it serves, while sharing in a unified county vision,” said Debbie Oaks, current Franklin Public Library Director.

All three libraries are in support of these efforts and board members and directors from each, along with the District Consultant, have been meeting for the past several months to work out the details of the partnership.

“We have been partnering together for years, working especially closely since the countywide card catalog was implemented in 2015,” said Flaherty. “This is a way for the libraries to come together and better serve our community.”

The collaboration will allow the libraries to be more flexible with operations, such as staff workflows, services, fundraising, vendor agreements, partnerships and meeting state aid standards.  The libraries will also be able to maximize their efforts, resulting in cost savings and efficiencies, especially over time.  Additional benefits to the partnership include more consistent patron service, easier access to resources and services, and more effective communications.

“From individual lives to entire communities, everyone benefits by having access to quality library service,” said Flaherty. “Collectively, this partnership gives our county residents the best chance to access this for years to come.”