City Applies to Join Library Cooperative

To ensure that patrons don't lose services they enjoyed at the Calabasas library under the Los Angeles County system, the city of Calabasas has applied to join the Metropolitan Cooperative Library System, an organization that shares collections among its 30 members.

If admitted to the group, the library would have access to books from the collections of member libraries that include branches in Los Angeles, Thousand Oaks and Burbank.

Calabasas decided last year to pull out of the county library system when it found that much of its tax dollars were not returning to the area in services.

But by withdrawing, the city will lose access to the collections in the 87 branch libraries run by Los Angeles County.

"People like that service," Calabasas Mayor Lesley Devine said. "This is one way we can have a wider selection, without [actually] having a wider selection."

The city would pay from $3,000 to $5,000 a year to belong, and would have access to the collections of more than 137 libraries.

Metropolitan officials said the city's application is scheduled to go to its council on March 26, and to the California Library System Board for final approval in May. The break from the county will go into effect July 1.

Under the new system, the Calabasas library would be able to borrow books found in member libraries, as well as supply other libraries with books it has on the shelves. Patrons might expect to wait from one to four days for a book to arrive in Calabasas.

Calabasas City Manager Charles Cate said the money the city will save by pulling out of the county system will be significant, though he could not say exactly how much.

He said the city will use its funds to convert the existing facility into a city branch, and save the remainder to help pay for construction of a new facility--planned for the civic center at Calabasas Park Centre.

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