Joining SWAN

Since 1974, SWAN has been offering a wide variety of services for libraries and their patrons. See why 100 libraries in the Chicagoland area belong to SWAN.

Our most recent migration, in December 2020, welcomed Glenside Public Library District, Roselle Public Library District, and Warrenville Public Library District, to the SWAN family. Our SWAN100 project brings SWAN membership to 100 strong!

Project updates and training resources are posted for the SWAN100 project.

Membership benefits

  • A shared online public access catalog with more than 8 million items available to patrons.
  • A unique collection of materials from public, college, and special libraries across Illinois.  Includes eResources and databases through APIs. 
  • 24/7 support to library staff—including IT, consulting, training, documentation, and tutorials.
  • Centralized cataloging and software services that save library staff valuable time and money.
  • Centralized distribution of a variety of reports—including daily circulation notices and monthly circulation statistics.
  • Centralized billing for Reciprocal Borrowing and Interlibrary Loan losses occurring between SWAN libraries.  In addition, SWAN will bill any other ILLINET library for your materials lost by reciprocal borrowers.
  • Networking opportunities and knowledge/resource-sharing among the 2,000+ member library staff, as well as professional memberships to OCLC, COSUGI, and more.
  • Library accessibility through modern technology like Linked Data (making library catalog materials discoverable to the World Wide Web and search engines) and easy procurement of materials.
  • Patrons can receive a variety of alerts like email or SMS/text message notifications, in a variety of languages (English, Spanish, Polish, and more.)
  • E-commerce for online credit/debit card transactions makes paying fines easy for patrons.
  • Mobile apps and technology for ILS software and the online catalog.
  • Delivery provided through Reaching Across Illinois Library System (RAILS) as a member benefit to all RAILS libraries.

Membership types

SWAN offers 2 types of membership:

Full Membership

Full membership grants libraries and patrons access to the SWAN consortium. SWAN provides Full Member Libraries:

  • Online Library Catalog (OPAC)
  • Circulation
  • Cataloging
  • Acquisitions
  • Serials
  • Unlimited SIP2
  • Statistical Reports

Fees vary per library type, based on academic, public, special, or school. Costs to SWAN membership are determined by the SWAN Director and SWAN Board. Fiscal year is July - June. Fees are approved by membership vote at the March SWAN Quarterly meeting as part of its annual budget approval.

Internet Access

This is designed for school libraries within the SWAN membership service area that partner with their local public libraries. This level of membership provides library staff the ability to search the SWAN catalog and request items. The cost for Internet Access is $605 per year & requires a 2 year commitment, renewing annually in January. The price is set each year by the SWAN Membership in March as part of its annual budget approval. 

This service is a legacy service extended only to those school districts already participating. Schools and school districts are encouraged to work with their local public library to establish direct partnerships through Intergovernmental agreements (IGA) and specific programs.

How to join


  1. Member of Reaching Across Illinois Library System (RAILS)
  2. Geographical presence within SWAN's coverage area.
  3. Commitment to share library resources and collections with SWAN membership and Illinois libraries.


  1. Contact Aaron Skog, SWAN Executive Director.
  2. Get to know SWAN.
    1. Review SWAN Bylaws and Policies.
    2. Attend SWAN Member Events to network with future colleagues.
  3. Organization approves and submits signed SWAN Intergovernmental Agreement.
  4. SWAN Board will review your membership request.
  5. Current SWAN libraries will approve your admission by vote.