Ten libraries from which I can check out books now that I have a Madison Public Library card:
- Columbus Public Library
- Monona Public Library
- Portage County Public Library—Plover branch
- Albertson Public Library, Albany
- Monticello Public Library
- Prairie du Sac Public Library
- Stoughton Public Library
- Lester Public Library of Arpin
- DeForest Area Public Library
- Charles & JoAnn Lester Library, Nekoosa
It will probably come as no surprise to many of you that one of the first things I did upon arriving in Madison was find the closest library and obtain a library card. The Madison Public Library is part of the South Central Library System, which is composed of 52 public libraries in Adams, Columbia, Dane, Green, Portage, Sauk, and Wood Counties. Why just those seven and not some of the other counties that might reasonably be described as being both south and central, like Rock, Juneau, or Dodge? No clue.
Anyway, as a card-carrying patron of the Madison Public Library, I can check out books from any library in the system. There was a similar arrangement among the libraries located in the counties that comprised the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments, but there were a couple of key differences. For one, if I as a resident of Loudoun County wanted to check out a book from the Fairfax County Public Library, I would have to obtain a FCPL library card, whereas I can use my MPL card to check out books from any of the libraries listed above and 40-some others. Second, the computer catalog searches the collections of all but eleven of the member libraries, and when I put a book on hold, like the new Spellman novel for example, it will be delivered to me from whatever library system happens to have it when my name reaches the top of the queue. That's pretty cool.
That of course would not stop me, if I had the means, from visiting each and every one of the member libraries and checking out a book at each one. Because that would be fun. And come to think of it, I may have the means after all. I need to do some additional research on the transportation options available to me here.