Public Library Network

This network links public libraries so they can share their resources with people in Alberta.

Public Library Network support

The provincial government provides network support to enable provincewide sharing of public library resources via the Public Library Network. Public Library Network support provided by PLSB totalled $4,231,493 in 2021. This included:

  • $322,787 to cover the cost of interlibrary loan delivery
  • $121,000 to cover the costs for service to broker provincewide, national and international interlibrary loans from all types of libraries, as well as for the ME Libraries initiative
  • $2,470,217 for SuperNet connectivity for all Alberta public libraries participating in the Public Library Network
  • $993,571 for public library access to a variety of electronic resources
  • $323,918 for public library access to resources for the print-disabled

Resource sharing

Resource sharing is a key priority for public libraries in Alberta.

To meet this priority, Public Library Services Branch (PLSB) supports the underlying technology required for resource sharing. The province also supports part of the physical delivery of materials to libraries.

For more information, see the Public Library Network policy.

Alberta-wide borrowing

The Government of Alberta supports seamless access to public library resources for everyone in Alberta.

Those who have an eligible public library card may borrow from any public library participating in the Public Library Network.

Alberta-wide borrowing is governed by the provincial Resource Sharing Operational Policy for Public Libraries.

ME Libraries

ME Libraries is a web-based service that allows people with a library card from a participating library to create an account and access the physical collections at all other participating libraries.

This allows people to use their home library card as their library card at any participating library they have registered with.

For more information, watch the ME Libraries video.

Interlibrary loan


The province funds and supports Relais, an interlibrary loan system that automates the processing of requests.

Relais features a union catalogue that allows people to search many libraries at once, and then gives library cardholders the ability to place a request on materials not available at their local libraries. Public library staff then use the system to fill requests from libraries across the province.

Government courier service

Through an agreement with Service Alberta and Red Tape Reduction, PLSB facilitates delivery of library materials to all library systems and to several other sites through the Alberta courier service.


The Alberta SuperNet is a broadband network comprised of fibre-optic cables and towers built to connect public institutions across the province and enables high-speed internet access, video conference and other services. While high-speed Internet access is possible with SuperNet, it is not equivalent to SuperNet.

The SuperNet provides 3 basic components that are integral to a fully-functioning public library electronic network:

  • speed
  • stability
  • security

These are key to facilitating basic public library operations such as the integrated library system and network functions and enabling access to other network services such as multimedia services and digital resources.

The SuperNet Operational Policy sets out the parameters for provincial SuperNet support for libraries

The province’s investment in SuperNet for public libraries enables public libraries and library systems to have secure, high-speed broadband access for their internal operations, and also helps PLSB to implement other provincewide initiatives such as Alberta-wide borrowing as well as access to resources for people with print disabilities and Indigenous communities.

Electronic resources

The Alberta Public Library Network aims to provide equitable access to a broad range of resources for all people in Alberta, as determined by Government of Alberta priorities.

The Electronic Resources Operational Policy establishes principles and guidelines for the effective selection of provincial e-resources.

Library boards acquire electronic resources individually, in response to local needs. Other electronic resources are acquired at the provincial level and provided through the Public Library Network.

The multi-tiered acquisition model allows local autonomy and decision-making while also enabling efficiencies of scale and support of provincial objectives.

Persons with print disabilities

In addition, Alberta public libraries that participate in the Public Library Network have access to resources that respond to the needs of people with print disabilities. PLSB funds access to the National Network for Equitable Library Service (NNELS) and the Centre for Equitable Library Access (CELA) for public libraries. For more information, see Library services for persons with print disabilities.