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New passport program extends access to statewide library collections

Local patrons can use card from home library to check out items outside of county


The new Oregon Library Passport Program now allows Washington County Cooperative Library Services cardholders to register and use other participating libraries across the state.

Eva Calcagno, director of the cooperative, leads the Oregon Library Association Resource Sharing Committee that developed the passport program. She is excited to include WCCLS as a charter member of the program to expand local library patrons’ access to materials beyond Washington County borders.

Libraries across Oregon are signing up to also participate in the voluntary passport program.

"The Oregon Library Passport Program recognizes that library service ought to mirror the way Oregonians live, work, shop and play, and reduce barriers to library service," Calcagno said. "The underlying premise of the passport program is that cardholders of legally-established libraries ought to be able to use other legally established libraries and vice versa.”

The key to the passport program is that a resident first needs a library card from her “home” library.

Here’s how it works for Washington County residents: take your WCCLS library card to another passport participating library, for example Astoria Public Library. They can then register for that library’s card without the customary out-of-area card fees and check out library materials.

The home library card essentially becomes their “passport” or ticket to registering for library cards at other participating libraries throughout Oregon.

Patrons will continue to be responsible for managing their own checkouts, complying with the passport member library’s local policies regarding due dates, late fees and material limits. Patrons also must return materials directly to the library they borrow from — there is no library-to-library return delivery mechanism with this program.

Likewise, Astoria library patrons can use their cards as passports to Washington County libraries.

"This program benefits anyone who lives, works or vacations in multiple places throughout the state and would like the ease of borrowing and returning items to and from the most convenient library," said Jodi Nielsen, WCCLS senior program educator. "People who are conducting research will also be able to use the passport program to tap into the vast resources of academic libraries, including the Oregon State University libraries, Oregon Health Sciences University and several community colleges."

Passport program details can be found at librariesoforegon.org/passport, including a list of participating libraries. The list continues to grow from the 58 libraries that signed up to launch the program.

The new Oregon Library Passport Program adds to the interlibrary cooperative efforts WCCLS has championed for decades, Calcagno said.

In the Portland area, the cooperative has been part of the well-established Metropolitan Interlibrary eXchange (MIX) agreement since the 1980s. This allows any resident of Washington, Multnomah, Clackamas and Hood River counties in Oregon or the Fort Vancouver Regional Library System and the city of Camas in Southwest Washington to use any library in the metro region. Last year, nearly 3 million items were checked out by MIX participants.

The new statewide passport program builds upon the success of MIX by adding a variety of other public libraries and academic research libraries throughout the entire state, Calcagno said.




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