The following are common library-related acronyms that you may encounter as a member of the RAILS Board.
Association of Bookmobile and Outreach Services, National organization. RAILS helps promote ABOS activities and events.
Association of College and Research Libraries. The largest division of the American Library Association. Develops programs, products, and services to help those working in academic and research libraries. (See also IACRL.)
Association of Illinois School Library Educators. Provides leadership and support for school library staff. RAILS partners with AISLE to help advocate for school libraries. AISLE Board members participate in RAILS’ monthly meetings with CPS, IHLS, ILA, and ISL to discuss ways we can work collaboratively to support school libraries. RAILS also sponsors and has an exhibit booth at the annual AISLE conference.
American Library Association. The oldest and largest library association in the world. Provides leadership for the development, promotion, and improvement of library and information services and the profession of librarianship. RAILS exhibits at ALA conferences when they are held in Chicago. RAILS also encourages members to support ALA advocacy initiatives.
Area and Per Capita Grant. State grant. RAILS submits an APC grant application to the Illinois State Library each year as specified in the Administrative Code Rules (23 ILAC 3035.100). The RAILS Board reviews/approves the application at its May meeting. The APC Grant accounts for over 78% of RAILS funding.
Association of Research Libraries. Membership organization of libraries and archives in major public and private universities, federal government agencies, and large public institutions in the United States and Canada. RAILS publicizes ARL activities and events that we think will be of interest to our members.
Association for Rural & Small Libraries. RAILS publicizes ARSL events and activities that we think will be of interest to our libraries. RAILS staff attend the ARSL conference as possible to stay informed about issues and challenges facing rural and small libraries.
Book Industry Study Group. Works to create a more informed, empowered, and efficient book industry. Membership includes trade, education, professional and scholarly publishers, as well as distributors, wholesalers, retailers, manufacturers, service providers, and libraries. RAILS belongs to this group because they provide information and reports about trends in book publishing and purchasing by libraries and retail stores.
Consortium of Academic and Research Libraries in Illinois. Many RAILS academic libraries and a few specialized libraries are CARLI members. RAILS and the Illinois Heartland Library System provide statewide delivery to CARLI libraries via the Illinois Library Delivery Service (ILDS).
Cooperative Computer Services. One of six LLSAPs or shared online catalogs that RAILS supports.
Continuing education. RAILS provides a wide variety of CE for all types and sizes of member libraries.
Cataloging Maintenance Center. Operated by the Illinois Heartland Library System and funded by the Illinois State Library. Provides statewide cataloging support to libraries that belong to a library system, including RAILS libraries. RAILS regularly publicizes information about CMC services and training opportunities in the RAILS E-News.
Chicago Public Library. RAILS staff meet regularly with CPL Commissioner Chris Brown to discuss possible collaborative activities.
Chicago Public Library System. One of three Illinois regional library systems and the only public library system in the state. Includes Chicago Public Library and all its branches (81 locations total).
Chicago Public Schools. School libraries in Chicago are members of RAILS (as are Chicago academic and specialized libraries). A CPS representative participates in RAILS’ monthly meetings with AISLE, IHLS, ILA, and ISL to discuss ways we can work collaboratively to support school libraries.
CTL or CTS
Continental Transportation Logistics. A company that RAILS contracts with to provide delivery services in some areas. Board members may also see the company referred to as Continental Transportation Solutions (CTS).
Diversity, equity, and inclusion. Also referred to as EDI, which is the acronym RAILS uses.
Digital Public Library of America. An all-digital library that highlights collections from libraries, archives, and museums across the United States. Includes the Illinois Digital Heritage Hub, which brings together unique digital cultural heritage resources from across Illinois. RAILS provides ongoing support for DPLA. The RAILS Executive Director serves on the Advisory Board of the Illinois Digital Heritage Hub.
Equity, diversity, and inclusion. One of RAILS’ major strategic priorities. RAILS offers a number of EDI services and initiatives for our member libraries.
Freedom of Information Act. This law gives the public the right to request access to records from government agencies, including public libraries. RAILS offers a statewide FOIA/OMA Hotline to help public libraries with FOIA requests.
Fiscal year. The RAILS fiscal year runs from July 1 through June 30.
Health Science Librarians of Illinois. Promotes the professional and educational development of Illinois information professionals and library students in the health sciences. RAILS regularly sponsors and/or exhibits at HSLI conferences and promotes HSLI activities via the RAILS E-News.
Illinois Association of College and Research Libraries. Provides support to academic and research libraries. RAILS partners with IACRL to provide networking and educational opportunities and promotes IACRL activities via the weekly RAILS E-News.
Illinois Century Network. High speed broadband network serving K12 and higher education, public libraries, and government agencies. Provides internet connectivity for thousands of sites statewide.
International Coalition of Library Consortia. An informal group of approximately 200 library consortia from around the world. RAILS collaborates with and supports the work of ICOLC and participates in ICOLC activities that align with RAILS priorities, including the task force investigating OCLC business practices, products, and pricing.
Illinois Digital Archives. Created in 2000 as a repository for the digital collections of the Illinois State Library and other Illinois libraries and cultural institutions.
Intergovernmental agreement. An agreement for services between agencies, government departments, or organizations to provide a service. An example of an IGA is a contract for a public library to provide library cards to students at a school district outside the library's taxing area. RAILS provides members with information and other resources concerning IGA’s.
Illinois Heartland Library System. One of three Illinois regional library systems and one of two multitype systems (serving academic, public, school, and specialized libraries). RAILS regularly partners with IHLS on a variety of statewide initiatives. IHLS staff participate in RAILS’ monthly meetings with AISLE, CPS, ILA, and ISL to discuss ways we can work collaboratively to support school libraries.
Illinois Library Association. The state organization for library staff and trustees. RAILS partners with ILA on a wide variety of initiatives and publicizes ILA activities via our weekly RAILS E-News. ILA representatives participate in RAILS’ monthly meetings with AISLE, CPS, IHLS, and ISL to discuss ways we can work collaboratively to support school libraries.
RAILS also sponsors the annual ILA conference and exhibits at that conference.
Illinois Administrative Code. The official compilation of the administrative rules of Illinois state agencies. Includes the Illinois System Act (23 ILAC 3030).
Illinois Library Delivery Service. Managed by the Consortium of Academic and Research Libraries in Illinois (CARLI), in cooperation with the Illinois State Library. Serves CARLI governing members, Illinois library systems, and Chicago Public Library. RAILS and the Illinois Heartland Library System provide statewide delivery to CARLI libraries via ILDS.
Illinois Library and Information Network. The statewide resource sharing alliance that includes all members of the three Illinois regional library systems (RAILS, IHLS, and CPLS).
Institute of Museum and Library Services. Independent federal agency that provides library and museum grants, policy development, and research.
Illinois Public Library Annual Report. All Illinois public libraries are required by statute to submit this annual report to the Illinois State Library each year.
Illinois State Board of Education. Sets educational policies and guidelines for public and private schools in Illinois, preschool through grade 12.
Illinois State Library. A department of the Illinois Secretary of State’s Office. Funding for Illinois library systems (including RAILS) is provided through grants from ISL, with funds appropriated by the Illinois General Assembly. RAILS also works on a variety of collaborative projects with ISL. ISL staff also participate in RAILS’ monthly meetings with AISLE, CPS, IHLS, and ILA to discuss ways we can work collaboratively to support school libraries.
Illinois State Library Advisory Committee. Makes recommendations concerning the policies, services, and management of the Illinois State Library. Members represent academic, public, school, and specialized libraries, as well as the regional library systems. The committee also includes citizen representatives. The RAILS Executive Director is a committee member.
Library Directory & Learning Calendar. The statewide continuing education and meeting calendar, and directory of Illinois libraries of all types. RAILS provides statewide leadership for L2, including hosting, maintaining, developing additional features, and providing ongoing support.
Library Insurance Management and Risk Control Combination. An insurance consortium for libraries and library organizations. RAILS is a member. The RAILS Finance Manager serves as Treasurer.
Libraries of Illinois Risk Agency. Group insurance pool for libraries. The RAILS Associate Executive Director serves as Treasurer.
Local Library System Automation Program. LLSAPs are shared catalog automation systems that are coordinated and supported by the Illinois library systems. RAILS currently provides six LLSAPs with a mix of financial support and in-kind services: CCS, Pinnacle, PrairieCat, Rock River Library Consortium, RSA NFP, and SWAN.
Library Services and Technology Act. Administered by the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS). Provides federal funds for library projects, which are administered in Illinois by the Illinois State Library. LSTA funds account for approximately 16% of RAILS’ total funding.
Machine-readable cataloging. A computerized method of recording the information needed in a cataloging record. RAILS provides training for members on MARC and other topics related to cataloging.
National Center for Education Statistics. Primary federal entity for collection and analyzing data related to education.
National Information Standards Organization. Nonprofit membership organization that identifies, develops, maintains, and publishes technical standards to manage information. Information standards increase efficiency, reduce errors, and improve the user experience — making it easy for customers to find a book online, ensuring your website is fully accessible, being able to trust your usage data, and much, much more.
Founded in 1967 as the Ohio College Library Center, then became the Online Computer Library Center. In 2017, the name was formally changed to OCLC, Inc. Produces and maintains the largest online public access catalog in the world. Funded mainly by fees paid by member libraries. Many RAILS libraries are OCLC members. Illinois libraries spend approximately $5 million on OCLC services annually, and RAILS works to ensure fair and equitable pricing for these services.
Open educational resources. Learning, teaching, and research materials in any format that are intentionally created and licensed for the end user to own, share, and in most cases, modify. RAILS provides information on OERs for our members, including upcoming CE events offered by other organizations. RAILS is also a project partner for CARLI’s OER grant .
Open Meetings Act. This law ensures that the public has access to the deliberations of government bodies, including public library boards and the RAILS Board. RAILS provides a FOIA/OMA Hotline to help members with questions about compliance.
Public Library Association. A division of the American Library Association dedicated to the "development and effectiveness of public library staff and public library services." RAILS publicizes PLA events and activities that we think will be of interest to our libraries. RAILS staff attend the PLA conference as possible to stay informed about issues and challenges facing public libraries.
Pinnacle Library Cooperative. One of six LLSAPs or shared online catalogs that RAILS supports.
Illinois Library Association’s Public Policy Committee. Provides ILA’s focus on legislative matters. RAILS staff regularly attend PPC meetings and RAILS works closely with ILA on legislative priorities.
Resource Description and Access. An international standard for descriptive cataloging. RAILS offers continuing education on RDA and a group purchase on the American Library Association’s RDA Toolkit.
Reopening Archives Libraries and Museums. Project created as a response to the pandemic in 2020 and funded by OCLC and the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS). The RAILS Executive Director serves on the REALM steering committee, and other RAILS staff are involved in REALM activities. RAILS also keeps members informed of important REALM developments via our weekly RAILS E-News and other communication tools.
Rock River Library Consortium. One of six LLSAPs or shared online catalogs that RAILS supports.
Resource Sharing Alliance, Not-for-Profit. One of six LLSAPs or shared online catalogs that RAILS supports.
Reference and User Services Association. A division of the American Library Association. RAILS participates in meetings of RUSA’s Physical Delivery Interest Group, and also publicizes RUSA activities we think may be of interest to our members.
Special Libraries Association. The SLA Illinois Community offers professional development and networking opportunities to members. RAILS partners with SLA-Illinois to provide networking and educational opportunities and promotes SLA-Illinois activities via the weekly RAILS E-News. The RAILS Member Engagement Manager currently serves as President of SLA-Illinois.
Secretary of State (State Librarian of Illinois). Funding for RAILS and the two other Illinois library systems is provided from the Secretary of State’s Office through the Illinois State Library.
System Wide Automated Network. One of six LLSAPs or shared online catalogs that RAILS supports.