Keller Public Library prepares to end contract with Fort Worth

The Keller Public Library
Keller library cards will still be available to nonresidents with a fee, which is based on how much of the average Keller resident's property taxes support the library. (Kira Lovell/Community Impact Newspaper)

Keller library cards will still be available to nonresidents with a fee, which is based on how much of the average Keller resident's property taxes support the library. (Kira Lovell/Community Impact Newspaper)

The Keller Public Library announced Feb. 24 that it would be leaving the MetrOPAC library consortium, ending a partnership with the Fort Worth Public Library that has been in place since 1999.

Fort Worth proposed major changes to the MetrOPAC contract in February 2019, Keller library Director Jana Prock said. The current agreement lets residents of Fort Worth, Burleson, Haltom City, Keller, Richland Hills and Watauga use their library cards at public libraries in any of those cities to check out and return books.

However, each library sets its own policies for due dates, renewals and fines. The newly proposed contract would let Fort Worth set those terms for all libraries in the consortium.

With input from city and library staff members, the Keller Library Board voted unanimously to not renew the contract with Fort Worth, according to a city announcement.

Leaving the consortium will let the Keller Public Library tailor its library materials and management system to the needs of its residents, Keller Library Services Manager Kelly Holt said.

According to the announcement, the MetrOPAC contract was meant in part to let libraries in the consortium share a management system and split the cost of software. Now, the Keller library is exploring other integrated library system options, Prock said.

The first year after the contract ends will involve a lot of monitoring and data collection to find out what changes need to be made to the library's physical collection. The digital collection will not be affected by the change. According to statistics provided in the Feb. 24 announcement, 18% of the library materials that Keller residents checked out in 2020 came from other libraries in the consortium, while 40% of the materials that the Keller library lent out went to those other libraries.

“Is that going to mean it’s going to take me longer to get the materials I want? We don’t really know,” Keller Public Information Officer Rachel Reynolds said. “If what you want is something that used to have a really long waiting list coming from a lot of other cities’ residents, you suddenly might have a much shorter waiting list if you're only kind of competing against Keller residents.”

Though the MetrOPAC contract will expire Sept. 30 and the Keller library expects to start transitioning to a new normal in June or July, the decision was communicated to the public in February for several reasons.

Holt said the library can now start collecting feedback about what kind of materials residents are most interested in, whether that means specialized collections or broadly popular bestsellers. Residents will still be able to request books from Fort Worth and other libraries, but the process will take longer.

“We’ve made it so easy to access [other libraries’ collections] with just a couple clicks, and then a couple days and it’s here,” she said. “So they may be used to that and not know yet.”

Nonresidents can still pay $25 for a Keller library card, the cost of which is based on how much of a Keller resident’s property taxes go to the library each year, which Holt said is standard for Texas libraries.

“We just ask that other people who want to use the library just put in the pot the same amount, so we have that money to make up for the extra people coming in,” Holt said.

Reynolds said announcing the changes so early will let residents of other cities, particularly northeast Fort Worth, decide whether they want to keep using Keller’s library as their main library.

“For a lot of those families, they've been coming here so long that they still think of the Keller library as sort of their home library,” she said. “This is where they're comfortable. This is where their kids have, you know, grown their love of learning and books. They feel a very strong connection to this library, and we knew that that was going to be a hard communication.”
By Kira Lovell
Kira Lovell is a reporter covering Grapevine-Colleyville-Southlake and Keller-Roanoke-North Fort Worth. Before joining Community Impact, she majored in journalism at the University of Missouri and covered education and local arts for the Columbia Missourian and Vox Magazine.


Three maps of Keller on display on easels in Keller Town Hall
Keller City Council votes to update city's 23-year-old land use plan

Plans to amend the future land use plan were initially introduced in 2018.

Roanoke has added a rodeo event to its lineup for Roanoke Roundup on May 1. (Courtesy city of Roanoke)
Roanoke to host first rodeo event as part of Roanoke Roundup event on May 1

As part of its fifth annual Roanoke Roundup, the city will be adding a rodeo show for the first time.

Romeo's Pizza is looking to open in Frisco. (Courtesy Romeo's Pizza)
Romeo's Pizza coming to Frisco; steak, seafood lounge returning to Plano and more DFW-area news

Read the latest business and community news from the Dallas-Fort Worth area.

As part of President Joe Biden’s plan to reopen schools safely nationwide, the department’s National School Lunch Program Seamless Summer Option is being expanded beyond the summertime. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
USDA extends free school meals provision through 2021-22 school year

Schools nationwide will be able to serve nutritious meals to all students free of charge regardless of eligibility through June 30, 2022, officials announced.

The clock tower on Keller City Hall and a tree
Keller City Council approves city's second tax reinvestment zone

A portion of future property tax revenue will go to capital improvements on the city's west side.

The company also has plans for another location in Northeast Fort Worth. (Courtesy Starbucks)
Starbucks coming to Fort Worth; Makers Gym opens in Frisco and more DFW-area news

Read the latest business and community news from the Dallas-Fort Worth area.

A pepperoni pizza
Jonny's Pizza bringing New York-style pies to Northeast Fort Worth

The restaurant also serves subs, calzones and more.

The restaurant's menu focuses on chicken wings and sandwiches. (Courtesy Hoots Wings)
Hooters offshoot to open in Fort Worth; Oishii Sushi coming to Plano and more DFW-area news

Read the latest business and community news from the Dallas-Fort Worth area.

A Starbucks worker holding a to-go cup
Starbucks coming to Westport Parkway in Fort Worth

The coffee company is expanding this fall.

Take-out containers of food on a table surrounding a Hoots Wings bag
Hooters spinoff Hoots Wings to open in Fort Worth

The franchise is a fast-casual alternative to the well-known restaurant chain.

Early voting for the May 1 election runs April 19-27. (Community Impact staff)
Early voting opens for races on ballot in Keller, Roanoke, Northeast Fort Worth

Contested races on the ballot include mayors for Fort Worth and Roanoke, two Fort Worth City Council seats, two Keller City Council seats, three Roanoke City Council seats, two Keller ISD board of trustees seats and two Northwest ISD board of trustees seats.

Five candidates are vying for the Fort Worth City Council District 4 seat in May 2021. (Community Impact staff)
Q&A: Meet the candidates running for Fort Worth City Council District 4

Here are the five candidates running for the District 4 seat of Fort Worth City Council in the May 1 election