The Saskatchewan Information and Library Services (SILS) Consortium, a not-for-profit corporation, was established in 2009. The overall objective of the consortium was to provide equitable access to library services through one-card access to public library resources for citizens across the province.
The partnership began with five library systems but quickly expanded to the entire province when the project received $5.2 million from the Government of Saskatchewan.
The initial focus of the project was on combining the catalogues and patron databases of individual library systems into a single integrated library system (ILS) that would provide all users with:
- the ability to register for a universal library card at any library.
- the opportunity to search for public library materials on a single bibliographic database of over one million records.
- seamless access to materials from any public library in the province.
The initial ILS project, completed in 2010, was built on a long history of cooperation and resource sharing but required a new level of common policy development in areas such as loan periods and fines and fees.
The Consortium now serves over 300 branch libraries. The eleven public library systems blanket the entire province; there are no non-served geographic areas in Saskatchewan. For public libraries in Canada, policy agreement on this scale was, and remains, unprecedented.
The purpose of the Consortium was expanded beyond the ILS focus when the Consortium Bylaws were written to include directives for members to work co-operatively to deliver and provide library services and resources in the most efficient and effective manner possible.
The Consortium is currently funded by the members and the Provincial Library and Literacy Office.