Reaching Across Illinois Library System

Consortial Abbreviation: 
Brief Description: 

The Reaching Across Illinois Library System (RAILS) is one of two multitype regional library systems in Illinois. The membership of RAILS includes academic, public, school, and special libraries.

RAILS provides continuing education, delivery service to support Illinois’ vast interlibrary loan program, technology support for more than 600 libraries’ shared online catalogs, and Talking Book Services that serve persons with visual or physical disabilities who cannot read conventional print material.

The RAILS service area covers northern and western Illinois. The system serves more than 1,300 private, public, school, and university library members, representing more than 3,700 library facilities in a 27,000 square mile area. Although the city of Chicago is within RAILS' boundaries, and a number of RAILS member libraries are located in Chicago, the Chicago Public Library constitutes a separate library system.

Illinois library systems are established by state law (the Illinois Library System Act) and funded through the Illinois State Library and the Illinois Secretary of State, with funds appropriated by the Illinois General Assembly. RAILS was formed in 2011, through the merger of the Alliance, DuPage, Metropolitan, North Suburban, and Prairie Area library systems and is governed by a board of directors elected by member libraries.

Principal Consortial Functions: 
Electronic content licensing
Interlibrary loan/document delivery
Union lists/shared online catalogs
Other Functions: 
Talking Book outreach and reader advisory services to blind and physically handicapped patrons
Mailing Address: 
125 Tower Drive Burr Ridge, IL 60527
United States
Generic Phone Number: 
Staff Contacts: 
Jane Plass Associate Executive Director 1-630-734-519
Number of Member Libraries (full or core members): 
1 342
Types of Member Libraries: 
Number of Staff: