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Arrowhead Library System (ALS) has been a state‐designated regional public library system since 1965 covering Carlton, Cook, Itasca, Koochiching, Lake, Lake of the Woods, and St. Louis counties. In 2011, the North Country Library Cooperative (NCLC) board approached ALS with a request to explore combining as a single regional system.

A joint task force was formed to study the issues involved. Through a deliberative process, the task force developed a merger proposal designed to increase both the efficient use and impact of multitype resources. This proposal was approved by the boards of both organizations, and formal merger of the regional systems became effective on July 1, 2012.

Although the Arrowhead Library System name was retained, a new board structure was established representing all types of libraries


Arrowhead Library System enhances the value of all types of libraries to their communities by cultivating collaboration, technological innovation, and professional development; and enriches the quality of life by providing direct services for those without a public library and access to electronic resources for all people in northeastern Minnesota.


Relevance & Adaptability
ALS recognizes that we live and work in a rapidly changing environment ‐ especially in the digital age. We are committed to staying current with community and member library needs, continuously evaluating and adapting our services to ensure they are meeting those needs.

ALS practices wise stewardship of public resources to ensure they are used efficiently and equitably across the region and amongst different library types. We are transparent in both our decision‐making processes and resource allocation.

Intellectual Freedom
ALS believes everyone in the region is entitled to have access to a basic level of public library service. We are proponents of intellectual freedom and the right to unfettered access to a diversity of information.

Collaboration & Communication
All ALS members have something to contribute to the broader library community, and something to gain from it. ALS partners with member libraries to help build their internal capacity, and brings libraries together as partners in collaborative efforts. Communication is essential, and we reach out to keep the public and our membership informed through multiple channels.

Weekly Weeder
The Arrowhead Library System’s weekly newsletter to keep one informed on library news and events locally, nationally, and globally.

ALS Blog
Keep current on Arrowhead Library System news and events such as Legacy, Kids’ Stuff, and OverDrive.


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