Historic Documents MVLS

Mountain Valley Library System Governance



Below are the resolutions that have been filed with NorthNet.  It is the ultimate responsibility of each jurisdiction to keep their files as archives.

MVLS History

May 1990


The Mountain-Valley Library System (MVLS) was established in March 1969 when the Mother Lode Library System and the Sacramento City-County Library systems merged and included the Sutter County Library and Marysville City Library. Mountain-Valley was created and funded under the guidelines of the Public Library Services Act.

As a part of the prior Mother Lode System, Auburn was designated as an “area” library and funds from the Library Services and Construction Act were sought and secured to develop it as a referral center for El Dorado and Placer County libraries. In March, 1968, an application was made for a greater information network which would keep Auburn-Placer as an “area” library, and include Sacramento as a “research” library. The grant was made and the Mountain-Valley Information Center began in 1968.

The Mother Lode teletype network was expanded to include Sacramento. Sutter County and Marysville, offices were opened in the Central Library in Sacramento, vans and drivers were secured, and headquarters staff was hired. The area library concept ended in 1980. Sacramento Central Library remains the resource library for the System.

Other jurisdictions that joined Mountain Valley between 1969 and 1972 included Woodland Public and Alpine, Yolo, Nevada and Yuba Counties (Mono too?) In 1973/74 MVLS received an LSCA grant enabling UCD, CSUS, CRC, Sierra, Sacramento City College and Yuba College to join in the reference network.

Roseville Hospital joined in 1974, Dixon Public in 1979, Folsom Prison in 1982 and Lake Tahoe Community College in 1985.

Between 1976 and 1979 reciprocal borrowing agreements were developed for Tahoe area libraries via the “Cross the Line” and “Sierra Libraries Information Consortium” (SLIC).

Also, in 1976. a Tri-System agreement was signed whereby MVLS, North Bay and North State Cooperative Library Systems agreed to coordinate their services and to share materials with users throughout the Tri-System area. In January 1977 a Tri-System delivery service began with daily inter-ties among the three Systems. In 1980 that delivery service was expanded to include the 49-99 Library System and the Bay Area Library and Information System (BALIS). In 1982 Peninsula Library System was added. The name of the expanded delivery service was the Library Connection for Northern California and it ceased operation in late 1980.

Use of the teletype ceased around 1982 and was superseded by Forum and in 1988 by OPUS. The film circuit was in operation from 1970 to 1979.

The California Library Services Act (CLSA) was enacted in 1977, superseding the Public Library Services Act. The key features were ILL reimbursement for all libraries except for profit libraries and the establishment of System Advisory Boards.

In 1979 Joe Matthews completed a feasibility study for MVLS for a systemwide, automated circulation system.  As a result, Liz Gibson was hired to advise us regarding retrospective conversion options, and the MVLS Data Base Conversion Project began in 1982 using AGILE.  Mark Parker developed a report on MVLS Data Base Options and the decision to use AGILE CD-ROM catalogs was made in 1984. The change to IMPACTS occurred in 1988 or 1989.

In addition to the Coordinator and Information Center Librarians, staff has included Children Consultants, a Media Librarian, a Resource Development Librarian and a Systems Level Systems Analyst.

A list of Coordinators follows.


  • Dale Perkins 8/65(?)-1971 (?)
  • Omar Bacon 5/71-4/72
  • Ursula Meyer 1972 – 1973/74 (?)
  • Sallie Gray 1974 – 9/75
  • Virginia Short 1975 – 1982
  • Mark Parker 7/83 – 2/89
  • Gerald Maginnity 8/89 –

1 Prepared by Mary L. Stephens with assistance from Judy Lane; a cursory overview. Dates need to be double checked in MVLS Official Minutes; send me any corrections or omissions.

2 Members included Auburn-Placer and El Dorado Counties and the Nevada County Demonstration Project plus the cities of Roseville and Lincoln


The Mountain-Valley Library System (MVLS) grew out of two previous library systems. The Mother Lode Library System, comprising El Dorado and Placer Counties and the Roseville Public Library, had been in operation since 1965.

As a major resource library in the Mother Lode System, Auburn had been designated as an “area” library and funds from the Library Services and Construction Act were sought and secured to develop it as a referral center for El Dorado and Placer County Libraries. In March, 1968, another application was made for a larger information network which would keep Auburn-Placer as an “area” library, and include Sacramento, a single library system, as a research library. The grant was approved and implementation began in July, 1968. These two systems, plus the Sutter County Library and the Marysville City Library, applied to create the larger library system with funding from the Public Library Services Act, in a proposal to the California State Library in September, 1968. The application was approved and the Mountain-Valley Library System was formed in March, 1969.

Initially, The Mother Lode teletype network was expanded to include Sacramento, Sutter County and Marysville. This network ultimately was extended to nine libraries, until it was replaced by electronic mail to twenty libraries, in 1983. 0ffices were opened in the Central Library in Sacramento where they remain today, vans and drivers were secured, and a headquarters staff was hired. The area library concept lasted until 1980, when System activities and staff were merged at the Sacramento Central Library, as the principal resource institution for the System.

The Mountain-Valley Library System, as it now exists, is a group of 13 city and county public libraries. Some are small independent communities, such as Lincoln, and some are larger units, such as Sacramento Public or Yolo County libraries. As affiliate members, there are also seven community college and two state university libraries. Lastly, there is one special library (Roseville Community Hospital) and one prison library (Folsom). In spite of their differences, they find that certain needs can be met by working together and sharing resources.

Over 1,400,000 people in an area of 11,145 square miles now have access via interlibrary loan or direct borrowing to more than five million volumes, from which they may obtain information or pleasure. There is a reciprocal borrowing agreement among all public library members, whereby a valid library card from one member library enables its patrons to borrow directly from any other library. The academic affiliate libraries may have more limitations on direct-loan policy, but they do lend virtually a1l circulating materials to whichever System library requests them, through interlibrary 1oan. Materials that can be checked out can be returned to any library outlet in the System, with the exception of films and recordings, which should be returned to the lending library.

One of the main functions of the System is to provide a framework so that any member library may effectively use the materials of the other System libraries. This concept was extended outside the system in 1976, when an agreement was signed to provide resource sharing between MVLS, North-Bay and North State Cooperative Systems. This intertie network has been developed into a parcel delivery network among seven northern California Systems, ranging from Kern County in the South to the Oregon border.

MVLS is funded out of three sources: State funds (California Library Services Act). Federal funds (Library Services and Construction Act) and some 1ocal funds from member libraries.

System policy and budget matters are determined by its Administrative Council which consists of the head librarians of each member library. The System Advisory Board, a citizen’s advisory group, assists the Council by helping to plan and evaluate System services and by advising the Council on service developments based on community library needs. The Council meets on the second Thursday of every other month, beginning with July of each fiscal year.  The City of Sacramento acts as fiscal agent for the System.

At the present time, Mountain-Valley provides its members with the following services:

  1. Information network, which includes the following:
    • Electronic mail and telephone
    • An information and research center for reference requests
    • A center for processing out-of-System interlibrary loans
    • Regular deliveries by van or United Parcel Service
    • Links between member library book circulation systems
  1. Workshops and in-service training Programs and library tours
  2. Management of a database containing computerized records of most books held by System public and community college libraries
  3. Management of voluntary 16mm film and video circuits
  4. Consultant services for reference, automation and and general library services
  5. Administration and coordination of System activities and services
  6. Development of new programs and studies
  7. Development of cooperation among all types of libraries

The various services provided through the Mountain-Valley Library System have the goal of helping the member libraries improve their services to every person in the area, through resource sharing. In some cases, this means services and/or materials which the library could not perform or obtain alone.

In other cases, such as interlibrary loan and subject reference, it means speeding the flow of requests and answers to make fulfillment a reality.