Waukesha County has only played a part in library services planning, funding and delivery since 1981, while local municipalities have been in the library services business for decades - in many cases for over a century.
Over 30 Years of Service
The Waukesha County Federated Library System (WCFLS) was established under Wisconsin Statute 43.15 by action of the Waukesha County Board of Supervisors in January 1981. A seven-member board governs the System. Only the residents of the 18 municipalities without their own libraries pay the county library tax. The remaining library municipalities are exempt from the county library levy because they tax themselves locally at a higher mill rate than that of the county. This is as provided for in Wisconsin Statute 43.64. The WCFLS Board distributes the county tax revenues to provide reimbursement to libraries for serving residents located outside their municipal boundaries. WCFLS adjusts payments to libraries for use by one library municipality's residents at another municipality's library. WCFLS receives funds from the state allocated on a formula basis. The formula is based upon population, area, and the level of municipal and county funding. The state aid is used to provide services to member libraries. Services include interlibrary exchange of materials, professional performers for children's summer library programs, delivery services, automation, continuing education, and more. The Waukesha Public Library is the designated resource library. It provides specialized services on a contract basis. Residents living in areas of the county that don't have libraries use municipal libraries.
Circulation and Crossover Browsing
Circulation to these non-residents makes up about 17% of total System circulation. Nonlibrary community residents are taxed only on their circulation. Residents from municipalities with libraries use libraries in other municipalities. This crossover borrowing, where people pay taxes to one community's library while using another, accounts for almost 10% of total circulation. The level of crossover borrowing rose with the joint library for the City and Village of Pewaukee, but the new buildings there and in New Berlin are drawing back users more quickly than anticipated and leveling off the problems engendered.
Although borrowing from outside Waukesha County equals 3% of total circulation, it reaches 10 to 12% of total circulation at border libraries. An increase in demand for library service from residents living outside System borders is anticipated. Some libraries receive reimbursement for serving intersystem patrons and some do not. Paying for non-resident and crossover usage and looking for solutions to address funding inequities have been major concerns in our System. In addition, actual and potential municipal reorganizations contribute to funding concerns. Continued westward movement of the urban population places increased demands on existing library buildings and infrastructure. Passage in April 2006 of Act 420 required payments for some of this use, that of non-library community residents in adjacent counties. Each year, WCFLS assists member libraries in calculating payments they will receive for serving residents from outside the borders of Waukesha County. It also calculates the payments that must be made from Waukesha County to adjacent counties towards capital costs.