Transition Updates: What You Need to Know
- Our catalog will not be available December 1 – December 10 as we transition to our new Cafe catalog.
- You will not be able to place holds online from November 23 through December 10. After the 23rd, you can place holds at the library or over the phone, and they will be processed when we are back online.
- No interlibrary loan requests will be processed between December 1 and December 10.
- The library will be open 5:00 – 8:00 pm on December 1 and from 1:00 – 8:00 pm on December 3. Otherwise, we will be open our regular hours.
Waukesha County Libraries and the CAFE Catalog
The public libraries in Jefferson County will be switching to Waukesha County’s CAFE Library Automation System in December. Together we will have over 2.3 million items, and we will offer many new features to enhance your library experience.
To ensure that this process goes smoothly as possible, no holds on items in Dodge and Washington counties will be possible after August 28. However, items from those libraries can be ordered through Interlibrary Loan.
We greatly appreciate your patience and understanding while we take the steps necessary to make this improvement. Please let us know if you have any questions. You can contact the library at 920-674-7733.
Why We’re Joining Waukesha
Currently, the 16 public libraries in Waukesha County are alone in the one-county Waukesha County Federated Library System (WCFLS). The public libraries of Jefferson County, which include those in Fort Atkinson, Jefferson, Johnson Creek, Lake Mills, Palmyra, Waterloo, Watertown, and Whitewater, have been part of the Mid-Wisconsin Federated Library System (MWFLS), along with Dodge and Washington counties, since 1980.
Wisconsin’s regional library systems, which were formed in the 1970s and 1980s, are state agencies based on county affiliations. They are charged with the mission of providing services that strengthen and improve member libraries. “There are many opportunities for regional library systems to offer services that would be difficult for most libraries to provide independently,” explained Connie Meyer, Director of the Waukesha County Federated Library System. “CAFÉ, our Waukesha County shared catalog, is an example of a powerful resource operated by the Federated Library System. Library systems are an excellent example of how collaborations can achieve efficiencies and improve effectiveness.”
In 2014, the Jefferson County Library Board began a comprehensive study of the different library systems to which the libraries of Jefferson County could belong. After much research and discussion, a unanimous decision was made to seek a partnership with WCFLS. “The Jefferson County Library Board took a thorough look at five library systems and determined that Waukesha County is an excellent system and the best fit for our county,“ said Linda Ager, president of the Jefferson County Library Board.
In March of 2015, the WCFLS board considered the request from the Jefferson County Library Board to take in the libraries of Jefferson County. They unanimously endorsed the idea and made a proposal which was in turn approved by the Jefferson County Library Board. At that time, Jefferson County commenced the statutory process required to withdraw from the Mid-Wisconsin Federated Library System and WCFLS began the process required to expand to a two-county library system.
“We are excited about the opportunities that will present themselves as we add the high caliber libraries of Jefferson County to our library system,” enthused Meyer. “We will find cost savings for our member libraries through economies of scale, increase access to materials for all of our citizens, and improve our library system’s ability to meet its mission. It’s not often that the opportunity to realize savings also results in improving services, but we believe this proposal offers a rare opportunity to do both.”
Ager concurred with Meyer’s assessment. “This is a true win-win because there are clear benefits for both counties,” noted the Jefferson County Library Board president. “After the switch, Jefferson County residents will immediately notice they have more databases and can check out more books and other materials. Behind the scenes, our libraries will benefit from the strong leadership, veteran staff, technological capabilities and the clear vision offered by the new system.”