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Plan of Service

Southwest Michigan Library Cooperative

Southwest Michigan Library Cooperative
Plan of Service

Article 1

Sec. 1. The name of this Library Cooperative is the Southwest Michigan Library Cooperative, composed of one or more local public libraries whose boards agree to implement this Plan of Service. The Plan of Service has been developed and approved by the libraries listed in Appendix A.

Article 2

Sec. 1. Southwest Michigan Library Cooperative is established under authority and provisions of Public Act 89, 1977.

Article 3

Sec. 1. Membership in the Southwest Michigan Library Cooperative shall be available to any public library that meets qualifications of P.A. 89, 1977, whose local Board of Trustees and/or municipal governing or appropriating body adopts this plan by resolution, requesting that their library become a participating member; and whose membership is approved by the cooperative board. The cooperative board shall accept or show reason or denial of the request for membership within 60 days after filing.

Requirements as defined by PA 89 of 1977:

Member libraries will maintain an open door policy to other residents of the state, as provided by Section 9 of Article 8 of the State Constitution of 1963.

Sec. 2. New Members: The Cooperative encourages new membership. All new members’ expenses and befits shall be pro-rated over the months remaining to the end of the Cooperative’s fiscal year.

Sec. 3. Methodology: The Board of each local library shall adopt a resolution requesting the local library become a participating library in the Library Cooperative. Duplicate copies of the resolution, certified by the clerk of each local board, shall be files with the Cooperative Board. The Cooperative Board shall accept or show reason for denial of the request for membership within sixty (60) days after filing. When the Cooperative Board has accepted the resolution, the resolution and the acceptance shall be endorsed and a copy files with the Library of Michigan. The participating library has the same rights, duties and privileges as other libraries participating gin the Library Cooperative.

Sec. 4. Multi-Type Membership: Membership in the Cooperative is encouraged. Membership can be conferred by the Cooperative Board upon written request from a library by an authorized official or resolution of its governing board. School university, college, Basic Plan and special (profit and non-profit) libraries may seek membership in the Cooperative. Services to or from members are based on actual cost or a quid pro quo arrangement. Cooperation between differing types of libraries is particularly encouraged.

Sec. 5. Membership Withdrawal: Any member of this Library Cooperative may withdraw by giving a written resolution of its local board to the Cooperative Board, ninety (90) days prior to October 1st. The Cooperative Board shall honor all requests for withdrawal, reserving the right to dispute listed reasons. Termination is as of October 1st each year, contingent upon settlement of financial obligations. As a component of withdrawal, each library is entitled to receive an electronic copy of its holdings records upon payment of production costs as incurred.

Sec. 6. Standards: Public libraries shall conform to certification requirements for personnel as required by Public Act 89 of 1977, Section 17.

Public libraries that fail to meet certification requirements, and are hence refused state aid, shall no longer be eligible for membership in the Library Cooperative. These libraries will be given one year in which to reach the certification requirements before any further action is taken by the Library Cooperative.

After one year’s probation, a public library that fails to meet such certification requirement s may continue to receive minimal service, at the discretion of the Advisory Council, but will be denied representation on the Library Cooperative Board and voting rights on the Advisory Council.

The Library Cooperative shall conform to certification requirements as required by the State of Michigan.

Article 4

Sec. 1. The Southwest Michigan Library Cooperative is committed to resolving disputes at the local level. The following procedures will be followed.


Article 5
Governing Boards

Sec. 1. The Cooperative Board shall consist of eleven (11) members who are selected from members of the Advisory Council. This Board shall manage the Library Cooperative and make such by-laws, rules and regulations not inconsistent with Public Act 89, 1977 as may be necessary, none of which shall be deemed to deprive any local board of any of its powers or property. No members of the Board are paid except for expenses incurred in the fulfillment of their duties. Terms shall be two years in length.

One member representing libraries from Class VI
Two member representing libraries from Class V*
Two member representing libraries from Class IV
Two member representing libraries from Class III
Two member representing libraries from Class I and II
One member representing School Libraries
One member representing Academic and Special Libraries

*(If there are less than two Class V member libraries: One member representing libraries from Class V, Two members representing libraries from Class IV, Two members representing libraries from Class III, except in alternate terms when three members will represent libraries Class III.)

Local library boards in the five population categories shall be represented on the Cooperative Board alphabetically (beginning with A) by the name of the local area served. Local boards eligible for members shall designate in advance which of their representatives is to represent them on the Cooperative Board. Vacancies will be filled by appointment of the local board which is entitled to representation for the unexpired term.

Libraries with membership on the Cooperative Board, which are not represented at three (3) consecutive Board meetings shall lose their membership on the Cooperative Board. The next library on the rotation list shall fulfill the remainder of the term in addition to its regularly scheduled term.

As additional libraries join the Southwest Michigan Library Cooperative, their names shall be added to the alphabet rotation in alphabetical sequence within their groupings. New members become eligible for the aboard after two consecutive years of membership. In the case of Multitype Libraries, School Libraries and Academic/Special Libraries membership shall be immediate and they shall be appointed using the same process as articulated in Section 1.

Sec. 2. Meeting Dates: The Cooperative Board shall meet on a day specified in the Bylaws. Cooperative Board and Council shall adhere to all provision of the Open Meeting Act 267, 1977.

The annual meeting shall be held as specified in the Bylaws.

Meetings of the cooperative board and its committee will comply with the Open Meeting Act, P.A. 276, of 1976.

Meeting agendas and packets will be made available to appropriate members a week in advance of the meeting date.

Sec. 3. Duties and responsibilities of the cooperative board:

        A.  Operate the cooperative library and manage and control the cooperative library's funds and property.
B.  Nominate officers for election by the council.
C.  Establish, maintain, and operate cooperative services for public libraries in the cooperative library area.
D.  Appoint a director or coordinator to administer the cooperative library, fix that person's compensation, and delegate to that person those powers the delegation of which is in the best interest of the operative library, including the power to hire necessary employees.
E.  Acquire books, periodicals, library materials, equipment, supplies, or other personal property by purchase, installment purchase contract, or lease with or without an option to purchase, or enter into a loan agreement and borrow money for that purpose.
F.  Erect buildings or acquire real property, including buildings and fixtures, by purchase, land contract, installment purchase contract, or lease with or without an option to purchase, or enter into a loan agreement and borrow money for that purpose.
G.  Enter into contracts to receive service from, or give service to, libraries in the state, including public, school, academic or special libraries, other cooperative libraries, political subdivisions of the state, commercial organizations and individuals.
H.  Have exclusive control of expenditures including adoption of an annual budget recommended by the Council. The Board may override the recommended budget by a vote of a simple majority. The Board shall not make changes in the mission statement.
I.  Accept gifts and donations of property, real and personal, for the benefit of the Library Cooperative and for the purposes for which donated.
J.  Adopt bylaws and rules not inconsistent with Public Act 89 for its own government and do those things necessary to carry out the purpose of this act.

3. In pursuing these duties, it will take into due consideration the recommendations of the Council.
4. The role of the Cooperative Board is to fulfill the requirements of Public Act 89, Section 8 (being a body corporate and juristic entity).
5. All of the following shall apply to an installment purchase contract, land contract, loan agreement, or lease purchase contract entered into pursuant to subsection 2:

        A.  The contract shall not constitute an indebtedness of any member of the cooperative library within any constitutional, charter, or statutory limitation.
B.  Principal and interest are payable solely from the revenues of the cooperative library.
C.  No member of the cooperative library shall pledge its full faith and credit to the payment of principal and interest on the contract.
D.  Interest on the unpaid principal amount of the contract shall not be treated as excluded from gross income under the Internal Revenue Code.

6. Provide for an annual financial audit filed within 12 months following the close of the fiscal year. If the annual financial audit report disclosed a deficit or other material deficiency, the cooperative library shall submit a corrective action plan for review and approval by the Department of Treasury. If a deficit is disclosed, the corrective action plan shall include a deficit elimination plan and proof that the plan filed with the department of treasury as required by section 21 of 1971 PA 140, MCL 141.921.

7. The cooperative shall maintain current fidelity bond coverage and file annual verification of coverage with the MDE.

8. It is expressly understood that the Governing Board has no jurisdiction over the property and management of the member libraries.
9. The Cooperative will conform to investment of surplus funds with Public Act 20 of 1943 (as amended).

Article 6
Membership Duties

Sec. 1. The Council shall consist of one (1) librarian ad one (1) board member from each public library (appointed by the local board.) Each Council member shall have one vote.

Each multitype member library shall be represented on the Council by its director or designate.
Each multitype member library shall have one vote.

Sec. 2. The Council shall provide officers and such committees as directed in the Bylaws. Membership on committees may be composed of Council, local board or staff members of the local library.

Sec. 2. Meeting Dates: The Advisory Council shall meet on a day specified in the Bylaws. Cooperative Board and Council shall adhere to all provision of the Open Meeting Act 267, 1977.

Sec. 3. A Council shall be established representing all member libraries to recommend mission statement, policy, program of service, and annual budget to the Cooperative Board. The Advisory Council shall make changes in the mission statement.

Article 7

Sec. 1. The fiscal year of the Southwest Michigan Library Cooperative shall be October 1st to September 30th.

Sec. 2. Cooperative State Aid: Direct state aid, granted by the State of Michigan for library cooperatives, as authorized by Public Act 89, 1977, Section 13, and paid to the Library Cooperative will be used for any library purpose recommended by the Advisory Council and approved by the Library Cooperative Board.

Sec. 3. Member libraries may contract with Cooperative for services.

Sec. 4. Library Cooperative service charges and charge for contracted services may be paid from local funds or funds coming to the member library from the State as authorized by Public Act 89, 1977, Section 16 (3) or (4). Any portion of the grant remaining aer charges gave been paid may be applied by the member library to local services.

Sec. 5. Supplemental funding may be approved by the Advisory Council.

Sec. 6. Additional Fees: No additional fees shall be levied from member libraries without approval of the Council.

Sec. 7. Services to or from multitype members shall be based on actual cost or a quid pro quo arrangement.

Sec. 8. The Library Cooperative shall apply before February 1st of each year for State Aid. The Library Cooperative shall certify to the Library of Michigan the amount of money received from each source during the last completed fiscal year before October 1st.

Sec. 9. Accounting: All funds received by the Cooperative will be deposited in a separate fund and will be used only for expenses authorized by the Cooperative Board.

        A.  Regular financial statement shall be made available to the Board and Advisory Council.
B.  The Cooperative books will comply with Federal and State regulations, GASB accounting principles, and organized under the guidelines of the "Uniform Chart of Accounts."
C.  There shall be an annual independent CPA audit of the Cooperative with a formal report to the Board for acceptance. A copy of the annual audit will be filed with the Library of Michigan and the Michigan Department of Treasury, Local Audit Division.
D.  The Cooperative will end the fiscal year with a fund balance of approximately 13% of the current budget expenditures.
E. Grants: State, federal and other public and private grants may be pursued if they meet the above-mentioned goals and Bylaws of the Cooperative.

Article 8
Budget Process

The Budget Process will consist of the Budget and Finance Committee (along with the Director) identifying the program needs of the membership. This is done through discussion with the Council; input from the Library Directors; and discussion with the Board. In extreme budget situations the process of budget formation may be managed by the Board as a whole. The purpose here is to provide an inclusive process within a time frame that enables a budget to be presented to both Council and the Board before the beginning of the new budget cycle (October 1st). Final budget adoption takes place at the October Council meeting and the October Board meeting. Budget amendments as a result of final audit figures or other changed income or expenses are managed by the Board at subsequent monthly meetings.

Article 9

Sec. 1. Basic Services: The following list of services, listed in priority order, will be offered, if feasible, to public libraries through direct state aid to cooperatives, as stipulated in Public Act 89, Section 13, to the extent made possible by the amount of the state aid and with the provision that supplemental funding may be approved by Advisory Council. These services are also available to multitype members on a pay as you go basis:

Group discounts on books, media, technology services, film licensing etc. as made available from Out Coop, MLC, MLA, and LOM.

Working together to problem-solve library services within our Coop through either electronic communication or meetings of Directors and/or committees.

Continuous presentations and sharing of new technologies with member Libraries

The sharing of knowledge and advice from/to institutional directors as well as Board Members and professional Staff

Professional development activities offered through the Coop or MLC, MLA, other Cooperatives, or initiated by individual Libraries.

Shared internal and external promotional/product marketing among are Libraries

Sec. 2. Additional Services: Additional services available to Libraries on a fee basis or offered through the retention of ‘swing aid’ include the items mentioned above as well as the expansion of those items. Examples of these additional services would be:

Sec. 3. 3rd Party Contracts/Services: Currently our Cooperative contracts with Seimens of Kalamazoo for a Web presence for all member Libraries.

Article 10
Plan Approval and Revisions

Sec. 1. This Plan of Service shall be reviewed annually by the Cooperative Council at the Annual meeting.

Sec. 2. Amending the Basic Plan: Any amendment of the Basic Plan may be proposed in writing to the Cooperative Director who will in turn see that it is received by the officers and member libraries of the Cooperative at least thirty (30) days prior to a regular meeting of the Council. Adoption must be by a two-thirds vote of the Council, a quorum being present.

Sec. 3. If the Library of Michigan or Michigan Department of Education holds a hearing about the original Plan of Service or substantial modifications to the Plan, the Cooperative will inform member libraries about the hearings. The original Plan and substantial modifications shall be approved by the MDE.

Article 11

Sec. 1. This Plan of Service and revisions are officially adopted by the Governing Board of the Southwest Michigan Library Cooperative of April12, 2012.
Original:            October 1978
Amended:         December 1978
Amended:         October 1980
Amended:         January 1981
Amended:         April 1982
Amended:         July 1984
Amended:         October 1986
Amended:         July 1991
Amended:         April 1992
Amended:         July 1993
Amended:         October 1994
Amended:         April 1996
Amended:         July 1997
Amended:         June 1998
Amended:         March 2002
Amended:         July 2003
Amended:         May 2006
Amended:         January 2009
Amended:         April 2012

Appendix A


Sec. 1. The name of this organization shall be the Southwest Michigan Library Cooperative.

Section 1. As provided in the Plan of Service, adopted October 12, 1978, for the Southwest Michigan Library Cooperative, a Cooperative Board, representative of the member libraries, shall be formed consisting of nine (9) public library and two (2) multi-type members selected from members of Council.

Section 2. The Council shall be formed to advise and recommend to the Cooperative Board on policy formulation, finance, and governance of the Cooperative and to advise and recommend to the Director of the management of services and implementation of the Plan of Service. The Council shall be responsible for evaluation of the operation of the Cooperative.

Section 3. The multi-type nature of the Cooperative shall be formed to meet the criteria, established by the Library of Michigan, of a Region of Cooperation in all respects.

Section 1. The Council shall be composed of two representatives from each public library and one representative from a multitype library. Each board of a public library shall designate one of its members and a librarian to represent it on the Council.

Section 2. Alternate representatives to the Council shall be selected from the trustees or staff of a member library, and qualified by giving written or telephone notice to the Secretary prior to the meeting.

Section 3. The Cooperative Board shall be selected from the Council members in the following manner: one member representing public libraries from Class VI, two members representing public library from Class V, two members representing public libraries from Class IV two members from Class III, and two members representing public libraries from Class I and II with a  provision if there are less than two Class V public Libraries (Art. 5 Sec. 1A) (One from School Libraries and one from Academic/Special Libraries). Membership shall rotate as provided in Basic Plan.

Section 4. Vacancies and absences shall be filled according to the Basic Plan.

Section 5. Local boards of member libraries shall be responsible for the term of service of their representatives on the Council and/or Cooperative Board.

Section 6. The Director shall be a non-voting, ex-officio member of the Board and Council.


Section 1. Each Council member shall have one vote.


Section 1. Cooperative Board
As the governing authority of the Cooperative, the Board shall have the following duties:

Section 2. Advisory Council. A Council shall be established representing all member libraries to recommend mission statement, policy, program of service, and an annual budget to the Cooperative Board. The Advisory Council shall make changes in the mission statement.

Section1. Chairperson. The chairperson shall preside at all meetings, shall exercise general supervision over the affairs of the Board an Council, shall appoint all committees, and shall serve as member ex-officio on the Budget and Finance, Personnel, Automation Technical Advisory Committee, and any other committees deemed necessary by the Board.
Section 2. Vice-Chairperson. The Vice-Chairperson shall assume the duties of the Chairperson in case of absence or disability.
Section 3. Secretary. The Secretary shall keep the minutes of all meetings of the Council and Board, an accurate and official record of all business transacted.
Section 4. Treasurer. The Treasurer shall be custodian of all funds, shall obtain appropriate bonding, and shall present financial reports at each regular meeting.
Section 5. Director. The Director of the Cooperative shall be responsible to and report to the Cooperative Board. His or her duties shall be defined in the job description as written by the Personnel Committee and adopted by the Cooperative Board. The Cooperative Board hires the Director upon advice and recommendation of the Personnel Committee. The staff may be attached to one of the member libraries for payroll, retirement and fringe benefits.


Section 1. All officers shall be elected at the annual meeting by ballot vote of Council members for offices of Chairperson, Vice-Chairperson, Secretary, and Treasurer. The Cooperative Board shall nominate from its incoming members officers to be voted upon by the Council, to serve the Council and Cooperative Board for a term of one year, assuming office immediately at the close of the annual meeting. No one shall be eligible for the office who is not a member of the Board. No member shall be elected to the same office more than twice in succession. If a vacancy occurs in the office of Chairperson, the Vice-Chairperson shall succeed to that office.

Section 2. A vacancy occurring in any other office shall be filled by election by the members of the Board.

Section 1. Regular meetings of the Board shall be held once a month. The membership of the Board shall stipulate a regular day and time. Council shall meet quarterly with meetings held during the first month of the quarter.
Section 2. The annual meeting shall be the regular meeting in October.
Section 3. Regular meetings of the Cooperative Board shall be held immediately following the Council Meeting on the stipulated day and time.
Section 4. Notices of regular meetings and agendas shall be given to all library representatives at least seven (7) days prior to each meeting.
Section 5. Special meetings of the Council and Cooperative Board may be called by the Chairperson, Director, or a majority of the officers. Such meetings must be confirmed forty-eight (48) hours prior to the meeting with each member library. Special meetings must be posted and only that special business be conducted.
Section 6. In cases of conflict with holidays or disasters, the Cooperative Chairperson, Director, or a majority of the officers may change or cancel the scheduled meeting date without prior notice.

Section 1. At least a majority of the Cooperative Board shall constitute a quorum for transaction of business.
Section 2. At least one member present from a majority of the member libraries forming the Council by personal attendance or by listserv, paper ballot, or telephone conference, shall constitute a quorum for the transaction of business.

Section 1. Robert’s Rules of Order (Revised) shall be the parliamentary authority on all matters not covered by the Bylaws of this organization.


Section 1. Standing Committees

Section 2. Standing Committees

A six member Personnel Committee of the Cooperative shall be established, consisting of two trustees and four librarians, representing six different member libraries, all appointed by the Chairperson. Their duties shall be the following:

The Evaluation of the Needs and Services Committee exists to investigate, identify, and recommend unmet needs and to propose programs for service to meet those needs to the Council and Board. It also evaluates the contractual services by individual member libraries as specified in the current plan of service.

The Continuing Education Committee exists to provide Cooperative members with opportunities to attend quality workshops and programs that will further their professional development and enable them to earn Continuing Education Units.

The Technology Advisory Group exists to assist the Director in the implementation of electronic services and resource sharing for the Cooperative and to act as a representative users group for telecommunications and computerized services.

The Multi-type Services Committee exists to promote services and resources that will benefit the Multi-type member libraries of the Southwest Michigan Library Cooperative.

Section 3. Members of a committee who are not present at three (3) consecutive Committee meetings unless excused prior to the meeting, shall lose their membership on said committee. Replacement to the Committee will be made during the normal registration period. Members of the Personnel Committee, that must consist of two trustees and four librarians, shall be replaced when needed.


Section 1. The order of business at the regular meetings shall include the following:
Call to order by presiding officer
Roll call by the Secretary
Minutes of the previous meeting
Treasurer’s Report
From local boards of Cooperative members
From others
Committee reports
Director’s report
Unfinished business
New business


Section 1. All assets of the Southwest Michigan Library Cooperative remaining after the payment of all debts shall, upon the dissolution of said organization, be distributed among the membership according to a formula drawn up by the Cooperative Board.


Section 1. Any amendment to these Bylaws may be proposed in writing to the Cooperative Director who will in turn see that it is received by the officers and member libraries of the Cooperative at least thirty (30) days prior to a regular meeting of the Council. Adoption must be by a two-thirds vote of the Council.


Section 1. When an individual library objects to Cooperative Board action, the following process shall be initiated:
Step 1. The Library or authorized official should present their objections or concerns to the Cooperative Board president in writing within 60 days of the Board Action. A summary of the points in conflict should include:

Step 2. The Board President shall acknowledge receipt of letter in writing as soon as possible, but within thirty (30) days. Board President shall then put this grievance on the agenda for the next board meeting. The Cooperative Board could then take the following action:

Step 3. If the local library and Cooperative Board cannot reach an acceptable solution, the dispute shall be taken to the Advisory Council.
Step 4. If this effort is not sufficient to resolve the dispute, the matter shall be reported to the State Librarian by the Cooperative Board or by the complaining library, with copies of all documentation. From this point the grievance shall be handled in accordance to the procedures of the Library of Michigan. Refer to Library of Michigan – Policies Disputes


An annual audit shall be conducted by an independent accounting firm.

Based on Library of Michigan Area Service Population Report

Library                        Population
Class VI                      50,000+
Kalamazoo                   124, 169
Portage                      52,170
Willard                        89,779

Class V                      26,000-49,999
Cass                           38,002

Class IV                     12,000-25,999
Allegan                        17,405
Benton Harbor               24,787
Coloma                        13,024
Comstock                     14,854
Dowagiac                     13,264
Lincoln Township           22,258
Niles                           25,686
Otsego                        14,169
Paw Paw                      13,579
Plainwell/Ransom           15,068
St. Joseph                    18,393
Three Rivers                 14,253
Vicksburg                     12,238

Class III                     7,000-11,999
Augusta                     7,172
Berrien Springs             9,172
Buchanan                  10,090
Eau Claire                   7,392
Galesburg                   9,476
Parchment                  9,779
Richland                     7,580
South Haven               8,386

Class II                     4,000-6,999
Bridgman                    5,263
Hartford                     6,582
Marcellus                    4,101
Martin                        6,384
New Buffalo                 5,819
Three Oaks                  5,092
Watervliet                   4,837

Class I                          0-3,999
Climax/Lawrence Mem.     2,463
Galien                           3,043
Lawton                         1,900
Sodus                          1,932

Appendix C                  59 Multi-type (non-public) Members


Bloomingdale Public Schools
Brandywine Public Schools
Bridgman Public Schools
Climax/Scotts Community Schools
Coloma Community Schools
Comstock Public Schools
Covert School District
Delton Kellogg Schools
Dowagiac Union Schools
Eau Claire School District
Galesburg-Augusta Community Schools
Gobles Public Schools
Gull Lake Community School
Hackett Catholic High School
Harford Public Schools
Hastings Area Schools
Kalamazoo Country Day School
Kalamazoo Christian Association
Kalamazoo Public Schools
Kalamazoo Region Education Service Agency
Lake Michigan Catholic Schools
Lakeshore Public Schools
Lawton Community Schools
Marcellus Community Schools
Mattawan Consolidated Schools
Mendon Community Schools
Michigan Lutheran High School
New Buffalo Public Schools
Parchment Public Schools
Paw Paw Public Schools
Plainwell Community Schools
Portage Public Schools
St. Joseph Public Schools
St. Monica School
Schoolcraft Community Schools
South Haven Public Schools
Sturgis Public Schools
Three Rivers Community Schools
Vicksburg Community Schools
Watervliet Public Schools

Borgess Health Libraries
Bronson Hospital Health Church-Kalamazoo
Fort Miami Heritage Society
H-D-I Federal Center Library
Kalamazoo Institute of Arts
Lakeland Medical Center
Michigan Maritime Museum
Pine Island Presbyterian Fellowship
W.E. Upjohn Institute
W. K. Kellogg Foundation Library

Andrews University
Davenport University
Glen Oaks Community College
Kalamazoo Valley Community College
Lake Michigan College
Southwestern Michigan College
Western Michigan University