Deals & Discounts: Information for Vendors

RAILS always strives to bring the best library products and services to its member libraries at the best possible prices. This page provides information about how vendors can partner with RAILS to connect to a member community of over 1,250 libraries in Illinois.

RAILS recognizes that libraries are stronger together. As part of our RAILS Strategic Plan, one of our goals is to provide “leadership in ensuring sustainable, equitable resource sharing for all member libraries.” We understand the challenges and benefits of navigating a large-scale, complex market to take advantage of economies of scale – a win-win for vendors and members.


Reaching Across Illinois Library System (RAILS) is a government agency that provides services to libraries throughout northern and west-central Illinois.

We serve approximately 1,250 private, public, school, and university library members, which have a total of more than 4,000 library facilities in a 27,000 square mile area.

2024 RAILS membership includes:

  • 115 academic libraries
  • 412 public libraries
  • 560 school libraries
  • 148 special libraries

Working with RAILS

RAILS works with all library types: academic, public, school, and specialized.

RAILS partners with vendors for a variety of resources, including electronic databases, e-books, physical products, and services.

RAILS manages the entire life cycle of group/opt-in purchases, from trials to invoicing.

As a single point of contact for vendors and members, partnering with RAILS brings efficiencies for purchasing, renewal, and invoicing processes. RAILS pays vendor invoices as soon as possible, independent of the payment cycle for members.

We are experienced at identifying efficiencies for maximum results in a large, complex landscape. We see the "big picture" and can see emerging trends and opportunities. This translates to more services for our members and more sales for our vendor partners.

We embrace change and are open to exploring new opportunities that will benefit our member libraries. 

AGREEMENTS: While each agreement is different, RAILS partners are expected to...

  • Verify RAILS membership by consulting the RAILS member list or contacting RAILS.
  • Extend RAILS member pricing/benefits to RAILS or RAILS/IHLS member libraries only.
  • Offer a lower price/added benefit to RAILS members that non-members do not receive.
  • Provide reports of RAILS member sales and savings annually.

We Connect Libraries

RAILS is a trusted brand in the Illinois library market. We visit our members, get to know them personally, and answer their calls and emails. When RAILS promotes a product or service, members feel confident that it meets quality standards.

The RAILS team understands how to reach your target audience through outreach and communication channels. We take the time to research your product and explain its benefits to our members.

  • We help you keep members informed about important, new, or updated products through vendor webinars.
  • We promote your resources in our newsletters, emails, social media postings, and on our website. The weekly RAILS E-News reaches more than 6,000 subscribers.
  • We consult with members individually and through networking groups to learn about their needs, concerns, and successes related to vendor resources.  

RAILS Initiatives

  • RAILS saves Illinois libraries millions of dollars each year by leveraging the collective buying power of our members. We negotiate discounted prices on a wide variety of library resources and services essential to excellent library service for Illinois residents.
  • Nearly 900 RAILS and IHLS libraries currently participate in eRead Illinois on the Boundless platform. This program, managed by RAILS, celebrated its 10-year anniversary in 2023.
  • Over 400 public libraries, including Chicago Public Library, participate in Explore More Illinois, the statewide cultural program managed by RAILS.
  • Find More Illinois is a seamless interlibrary loan platform managed by RAILS and used by over 90 libraries across the state.
  • RAILS delivers millions of items between our member libraries each year based on need.
  • RAILS provides low-cost, high-impact library professional development by coordinating more than 90 member-driven networking groups, where members share knowledge and ideas about professional topics.
  • RAILS arranges workshops, symposia, and collaborative events to help librarians improve service to their communities and keep up with the latest professional trends.

Start the Conversation

Think RAILS might be a good fit for your product, service or brand? We'd like to hear from you! Please use this form to contact us.