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About SWAN

SWAN (System Wide Automated Network) is a membership organization that is designed for libraries in the Chicago, Illinois area to house their collections and data in a shared, collaborative environment.

We provide services in that area of technology that allows libraries in Illinois access to each other's collections in a unified database of catalog items and patron information. This allows the most successful resource sharing available. The SWAN model of sharing technology, data information, and collaboration allows its member libraries to provide the easiest way for patrons to get access to materials.

Some of the services we provide include:

  • 99.98% uptime
  • A unified catalog of 8 million items where all member libraries can access each other's material online and allow patrons to request it
  • A patron database of 1.1 million registered patrons in the Chicago suburban area that allows easy library visits for your patrons
  • SWAN staff run and maintain Integrated Library System (ILS) servers, including software application, data security, backup, and the Online Public Access Catalog (OPAC)
  • Support for most SWAN related hardware and telecommunications issues
  • Centralized printing and distribution of a variety of reports including daily circulation notices and monthly circulation statistics
  • Software helpdesk services and training. Included in these services are workshops, documentation, consulting, and parameter set-up and maintenance
  • Centralized cataloging for most SWAN libraries, where the integrity of the SWAN bibliographic database as a whole is managed

77 libraries share ownership of SWAN. By sharing the cost of central site equipment, computer and database maintenance staff, and telecommunications, libraries of all sizes (including public, academic, school and special) have found it possible to join the consortium and to realize the advantages of online resource sharing. SWAN is governed by a board of seven representitives elected from its membership (see Board).

Online Catalog

The SWAN catalog lists more than 8 million items (books, periodicals, cassettes, videos, CDs, DVDs, electronic resources and other library materials). The online catalog displays libraries that own a given title along with the shelf status of the item. Through the SWAN catalog patrons can manage their own accounts, place holds, temporarily suspend (freeze) holds,  track their reading history, renew materials,  and pay any overdue fines with a credit card.

Traditional SWAN catalog:

The traditional catalog has the ability to "scope" to a single member library in SWAN, as well as the ability to search all 80 libraries collections all at once.