A regional structure for public library service in Michigan was mandated by P.A. 89 of 1977. Since then, forty-nine libraries of all sizes have joined together as the Woodlands cooperative to provide improved service to over 845,532 residents of Southern Michigan.
This cooperative approach preserves local initiative and control while taking full advantage of the efficiencies that a larger service area makes possible.
The cooperative does not provide direct service to the public. Instead it provides interlibrary loan, delivery service, continuing education, advocacy, marketing, and vendor discounts to member libraries.
The Woodlands Library Cooperative currently has participating members in fourteen counties across southern Michigan. The counties are Monroe, Lenawee, Washtenaw, Hillsdale, Calhoun, Branch, Ingham, Jackson, Eaton, Ionia, St. Joseph, Van Buren, Barry, and Kalamazoo. Through its association with other regional cooperatives, Woodlands provides access to library resources throughout the state and the nation.