Library boards on both sides of the Tetons have approved a draft agreement that will allow library patrons from Idaho and Wyoming to share services.
“Anyone who lives within 70 miles of Teton County is considered a resident,” said Kip Roberson, director of the Teton County, Wyoming, library. “We have been looking at our library card policy and asking how we could extend our services. People who live in Teton Valley are a part of our community. They love it here, they work here, they make our economy work. For some, they can’t afford to live here but continue to contribute to the community.”
Roberson said library leadership has been paying close attention to discussions at the county level where elected officials are shifting their perspectives when it comes to those who commute into the valley for work. He noted the recent discussion around the recreational center and applying local fees to Teton Valley and Lincoln County residents.
Both libraries are tax-supported organizations. In 2014, the Teton County Library Board implemented a $20 card fee for people living in Idaho. In 2015, the library board failed to come to consensus to remove the fee. Roberson said he couldn’t speak to the history of the fee, but did note that the library took in about $200 annually from Idaho card fees that now will be waived.
The new agreement allows card holders at Valley of the Tetons to borrow books from the Alta Branch Library and the main library in Jackson. The same goes for Jackson card holders, who may borrow books from the Victor library and the Driggs branch library in Idaho.
“We have been looking at our library card policy and asking how we could extend our services. People who live in Teton Valley are part of our community.” —Kip Roberson, Director of Teton County Library
Card holders on both sides will have access to other programs offered through the two libraries, including the lending services that allow patrons to borrow tools and other useful items.
“Like being fine free, this is another way to break down barriers for patrons,” said Savannah Wake, assistant director for Valley of the Tetons Library.
Patrons of either state will not be able to access the inter-library loan system that allows for statewide borrowing. Valley of the Tetons borrowers will not have access to the Teton County Library digital resources provided by University of Wyoming or Wyoming State Library, including Wyoming Virtual Library and the GoWYLD digital resources, Roberson said.
The agreement formally will be implemented this fall, Roberson said.