Frequently Asked Questions

What is eRead Illinois?

eRead Illinois was initially funded by the Secretary of State through the Illinois State Library. The total grant amount awarded was $985,219 for the two-year project, which ran from June 1, 2013 through May 31, 2015. The project is now self-sustaining through member fees paid by participating libraries.

eRead Illinois is:

  • expanding e-book access across Illinois
  • providing training to increase expertise on e-books
  • exploring further opportunities for increasing access to e-books through collaboration with Illinois authors, libraries, publishers, and other organizations.

What e-book platforms are being used for eRead Illinois?

Two platforms are available: Baker & Taylor’s Boundless product for RAILS members and IHLS non-SHARE members, and the cloudLibrary for IHLS SHARE members.

Who is eligible to participate in eRead Illinois?

The Boundless shared collection is open to RAILS and IHLS non-SHARE public, school, academic, and nonprofit special libraries..

Special libraries providing services to nonprofit, state governmental, or local governmental agencies can participate as long as they are only providing e-book access to employees or other qualified members. Baker & Taylor will not permit participation by corporate libraries and other for-profit entities.

The cloudLibrary shared collection is only open to IHLS SHARE members (from all library types).


SHARE is a group of IHLS libraries that have joined together to form one automation consortia using the Polaris system. 

What is the Unbound program?

Baker & Taylor is offering discounted pricing for libraries that purchase their own Boundless collection in addition to participating in the shared Boundless collection. Baker & Taylor calls this their Unbound program. If a library has its own Boundless collection and also participates in the shared collection, it will appear to logged-in patrons as a single collection. The Unbound program allows libraries to purchase materials to meet local needs, such as additional copies, titles that may not be available in the shared collection due to publisher restrictions, and titles of local interest. Please visit this eRead Illinois Boundless support page for more information.

Since eRead Illinois is a statewide project, why are there two separate platforms?

The cloudLibrary platform provides seamless authentication and access functionality with the Polaris system and was therefore selected by the IHLS SHARE group to provide e-book access through the eRead Illinois project. 

There is a more diverse automation landscape for RAILS and non-SHARE libraries, including four RAILS LLSAPs (or shared catalogs), independent consortia, standalone catalogs, and libraries that are not automated at all. There was a need to find an e-book platform that would work with this wide range of automation systems, and Baker & Taylor Axis 360 (now Boundless) platform was selected.

When can libraries sign-up?

RAILS and non-SHARE member libraries are welcome to sign up for eRead Illinois during the annual signup/renewal period that begins in March. IHLS SHARE member libraries may sign up to start participation at the beginning of each month.

What will it cost members to participate in the eRead Illinois grant project?

This eRead Illinois fee structure includes the Boundless shared collection for members of Reaching Across Illinois Library System (RAILS) and IHLS members not in SHARE. For SHARE members in Illinois Heartland Library System (IHLS), please visit the SHARE E-Resources Group Purchases page for fee information.

100% of your library's annual fee goes to further developing the shared collection.

For more information about the fee structure, see our listing of fee tiers for each library type

How are titles selected?

Each platform will continuously strive to provide a robust selection of titles to serve the diverse needs of member libraries.

For more information about the eRead Illinois collection development policy, please visit the collection guidelines page.

The Boundless collection also utilizes the help of title recommendations from participating libraries. Please fill out the eRead Illinois Acquisition Suggestion Form (login required) to request that an item be added to the collection.

What devices are compatible?

A list of compatible devices for the Boundless platform can be found here.

Please contact for information about devices compatible with cloudLibrary.

Where can I find more information about eRead Illinois?

More information about eRead Illinois can be found at

For more information about the Baker & Taylor Boundless platform:

For more information about the cloudLibrary: