OWLSnet Resource Sharing Policy

Recommended by AAC 11/13/98
Adopted by OWLS Board 11/19/98
Revised by AAC 1/18/02
Revision adopted by OWLS Board 2/21/02
Revised by AAC 1/21/05
Revision adopted by OWLS Board 2/20/05
Revised by AAC 3/15/19
Revision adopted by OWLS Board 3/21/19
Exception by AAC 1/20/23
Exception adopted by OWLS Board 2/16/23


According to the shared automation network Bylaws, OWLSnet has been established to provide a shared, integrated library automation system to member libraries of the Outagamie Waupaca Library System and the Nicolet Federated Library System "for the purposes of 1) facilitating resource sharing among network participants and 2) increasing the efficiency and effectiveness of participant library operations and services." Furthermore, OWLSnet members have agreed "to lend circulating materials listed in the OWLSnet database to other participants in OWLSnet."


OWLSnet encourages member libraries to develop strong collections and make them readily available to all residents of the OWLS and NFLS system areas. OWLSnet embraces the following goals aimed at facilitating the development and sharing of strong materials collections:

  • To encourage OWLSnet member libraries to develop collections that directly serve local clientele with materials that meets their demand for particular subjects, titles, authors, and formats in a timely manner.
  • To have all holdings of all member libraries included in the OWLSnet database.
  • To have all member libraries lend circulating materials listed in the database to other OWLSnet libraries with limited exceptions defined by policy.
  • To provide all residents of the OWLSnet area with the same opportunity to access the resources of member libraries, e.g., view holdings or place holds. Therefore, it is recommended that all OWLSnet libraries allow patrons to place holds within their libraries and over the Internet.
  • To increase standardization of policies, procedures, and practices among member libraries reducing the need for patrons and library staff to learn and remember variations.

Standard Practice

In order to provide the best service to all residents of the OWLSnet area and to share resources equitably, member libraries agree to lend circulating materials to other OWLSnet with limited exceptions defined by policy. Freely sharing circulating materials with other OWLSnet libraries is considered standard practice for OWLSnet members. The standard practice for resource sharing is described in the policy below:

1. OWLSnet libraries shall share circulating materials freely with other network libraries.

  • Item hold indicators on all circulating materials shall be set to accept systemwide holds.
  • Staff members shall place only systemwide holds, except that item holds may be placed to recall a specific copy, e.g., for repair. Local holds will not be used.
  • The online catalog shall be configured so that all patron placed holds are systemwide holds.

2. The Administrative Advisory Committee may allow exceptions for specific types of materials or for specific formats (e.g., art prints). Exceptions must be formally agreed upon at a meeting of the AAC.

3. OWLSnet libraries shall process the online picklist (i.e., holds messaging) as quickly as possible. It is recommended that holds messages be processed at least twice each day, e.g., once in the morning and once in the afternoon.

4. Materials with open holds shall not be renewed.

5. Any item where a hold was trapped on checkin shall be routed to the pickup point on the next available delivery.

6. All OWLSnet libraries shall use a standardized short loan period of 14 days or 7 days plus 7 days grace, if grace is used.

  • Short loan stickers shall be placed on items near the barcode label.
  • Short loan stickers shall be removed from items by the owning library when they are no longer needed, i.e., when holds are no longer trapped on checkin.
  • It is optional to code short loan materials for loan period 4 in item records.

Lucky Day

An OWLSnet library may maintain a Lucky Day collection – a supplemental collection of items that cannot be placed on hold and are only available to be checked out at the owning library – under the following guidelines:

  • For each item in the Lucky Day collection, the library must also provide at least one matching copy of the exact same item for the shared circulating collection, and
  • Libraries are expected to fulfill their resource sharing commitment to the consortium by meeting the holds ratio threshold set by AAC before placing extra copies in a Lucky Day collection.

Resource Sharing Policy Exception for Appleton Public Library's Opening Day Collection  

The OWLSnet Administrative Advisory Committee agrees that an exception shall be authorized for a period of 6 months following the opening of the Appleton Public Library's (APL) redesigned building anticipated in 2024

The first standard practice states, "OWLSnet libraries shall share circulating materials freely with other network libraries." During the specified timeframe, APL may add items to an Opening Day collection which will be incorporated into their existing Lucky Day collection. No holds may be placed on these items and check out will only be possible at APL. Ordering for the shared circulating and Lucky Day collections will continue during this time and existing rules and holds ratio thresholds for additional Lucky Day copies will be respected.

At the end of the 6-month period, this exception will expire, at APL will resume compliance with the Resource Sharing Policy. Material in the Opening Day collection at that time will be removed from the Lucky Day collection and evaluated for inclusion in the shared circulating collection or withdrawn.

Deviation from the Standard Practice

Libraries that choose to deviate from the standard practice, i.e., restrict the access of other libraries to their materials, will be assessed a 15% surcharge on their annual membership fee. Assessing a surcharge will help to address equity in resource sharing among the libraries by providing a negative consequence to libraries that restrict their materials. It would be inequitable for a library to be able to borrow freely from other libraries, without consequences, when it does not make all of its materials available to those other libraries.

OWLSnet libraries are not required to lend materials to any library that violates its own circulation policies when lending another library's materials. OWLS will confirm whether a library is violating its own policies.