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#Public Libraries in NJ's Bergen, Essex, Hudson, and Passaic Counties

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The Bergen County Cooperative Library System (BCCLS) was formed in 1979 to foster resource sharing among Bergen County public libraries. The cornerstone activity has been, and remains, reciprocal borrowing where a patron's hometown library card is honored at all participating libraries. 62 of the County's public libraries are members. Fifteen libraries from Essex, Hudson, and Passaic counties have joined BCCLS since 1991. In the 39 years since its founding on October 1, 1979 BCCLS has recognized the importance of information technology and training as essential components of successful cooperative library programs.

Reciprocal Borrowing

BCCLS reciprocal borrowing program was a pioneer in New Jersey resource sharing. The New Jersey State Library and the Bergen County Board of Chosen Freeholders provided the initial 1979 funding. The State Library grants ended in 1982, but the County of Bergen has continued to fund BCCLS without interruption since 1979, with most of the annual grant money allocated to this program. All of the monies for the program are returned to net lenders without overhead charges. The formula for reimbursement is done on a net lender basis with distributions twice yearly. Fees paid by the member libraries - more for non-Bergen members - augmented the County's $125,000 grant in 2013 for reciprocal borrowing. There were more than 2.3 million reciprocal loans out of close to a 11 million total Circulation total. Beginning in 2005, renewals were no longer counted in reciprocal activity. The reciprocal loan count includes close to 1 million electronic loans which are delivered to the patron's (or another pick-up location of their choosing).

Integrated Library Management Systems

BCCLS also supports resource sharing with an integrated library circulation and catalog system. Beginning in 2010, to improve local connections and save money, the T1 based local connections to an OC3/T3 WAN were replaced by cable connections. The annual savings in telecommunications is approximately $125K and the project was completed in early 2011.

BCCLS ran DRA Classic library management software since April 1987. On December 15th, 2004, SirsiDynix's Unicorn library management software replaced it. The Web2 public catalog was introduced on January 1, 2000. BCCLS began running on the Polaris Library system since December 12, 2012. The first networked pc was installed in Teaneck in April 1996; as of December 2013 more than 1400 devices are connected to the BCCLS domain.


BCCLS has provided full time professional training since it installed its first automated system in 1987. In July 1997, BCCLS created a full featured training center with support provided equally by the New Jersey State Library, the Highlands Regional Library Cooperative, and the BCCLS members. This facility was expanded in 1999.


BCCLS is organized as a member responsive organization with current staffing levels at 12 (5 with MLS and advanced degrees) full time employees headed by the Executive Director who reports to a 12 member Executive Board, and a System Council comprising all # members of BCCLS.

BCCLS is organized as a 501(c)(3) not for profit corporation.


Last revised 7/2014