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New Director Orientation: Background on SCLS

Wisconsin Library Systems

South Central Library System (SCLS) is one of 16 public library systems in Wisconsin. The goal of library systems is to provide all Wisconsin residents with access to library service. Systems provide a wide range of services to enhance local library service.  For more information see Trustee Essential 17: Membership in the Library System.

SCLS is governed by a 20 member board with 4 alternates, which meets monthly.  Madison Public Library is the System Resource Library. Forty-eight of SCLS's 54 member libraries have chosen to participate in LINKcat,  a shared online catalog.

SCLS currently maintains offices in two locations:  Headquarters and Delivery.  See About SCLS for more background information. 

System Membership

Once a county joins a library system, any libraries in that county can join the system. SCLS is made up of 54 libraries in 7 counties:  Adams, Columbia, Dane, Green, Portage, Sauk, and Wood. See SCLS system map (interactive or non-interactive version). Libraries must comply with certain state statutes in order to maintain system membership. See Wisconsin Library Law for more information on maintaining system membership. 

"Multitype" (academic, school and special) libraries within the 7 county area may also be members of SCLS, but are not eligible for all of the same services as public libraries. 

Staff / Who to Call

SCLS staff are here to help you. To determine which SCLS staff member is best suited to a particular question or situation, see the SCLS Staff List .


Email:  The majority of system communication takes place via email. 

  • Complete the form [password required] to request an email account. 
  • Subscribe to the relevant email lists.  Library directors should subscribe to scls-directors, scls-announce, and link-directors (for ILS libraries). 
  • View the email directory [password required]. Is your library's information correct? If not, libraries should request email name or title change, or email account deletion, as necessary. For libraries not using SCLS provided email, contact Heidi Moe with corrections.
Blogs and Newsletters: SCLS staff write and maintain a number of blogs and newsletters including:

Stay up to date:  The "Top 5" email, sent every Monday, is designed to communicate the Top 5 deadlines, meetings, and other important information for that week. If you have time to read nothing else, it is important that you read Top 5 and act accordingly. 

Directories:  SCLS maintains brief and detailed [password required] directories of member libraries. Help us keep this information up-to-date, to facilitate communication within the SCLS community. 

Member Input:  Library directors may forward topics from their regular county meetings and cluster meetings to SCLS staff members, or SCLS Committees. Please be sure to give input to your Cluster representatives on various committees.  See below for more information about Committees. We ask that you send minutes of your library board meetings to the SCLS Consultant for your county.

Website:  The SCLS website ( has a wealth of information for member libraries. If you have trouble locating the information you need, the site is searchable from the search box in the upper right hand corner of the page.

Counties:  In several of the SCLS counties, the directors meet regularly and also meet with their county library board. Libraries in counties that do not maintain a consolidated county library receive money from the counties for serving county residents without a library. (Adams and Portage Counties maintain consolidated county libraries.) New directors in Columbia, Dane, Green, Sauk, and Wood counties should contact the director of their county resource library to learn about county meetings. 

County Resource Library
Columbia Portage Public Library
Dane Dane County Library Service
Green Monroe Public Library
Sauk  Reedsburg Public Library
Wood Everett Roehl Marshfield Public Library or McMillan Memorial Library


Much of the work of the system is done by committee. Representation on the committees is by Cluster. View a committee's charge to learn about the work they do. Be sure that you are giving your input to those who represent you, and that you are reading committee agendas and minutes. Agendas, minutes, and accompanying documents are available on each committee's page, and announcements are sent via the scls-announce email list when new minutes and agendas are posted. 


Attendance at various events help you to become acquainted with SCLS, and our services and community.

  • SCLS All Directors meetings take place four times each year
  • County Library Board meetings, county library directors meetings, and SCLS Cluster meetings 


Visit the Terms and Acronyms page which contains links to:

  • Glossary of Terms and Acronyms (from DPI)  contains many library-related terms and acronyms, both general, and specific to Wisconsin.
  • SCLS-specific terms and acronyms
For more information, contact: