Although library collaboration is common and many libraries collaborate through many organizations, it is a relatively unexamined aspect of library work. Many descriptions exist, but little from the point of view of organization and motivation. In this presentation, Constance Malpas and I presented a framework for thinking about library collaboration to the Boston Library Consortium Board of Directors, and drew out some of the challenges successful collaborations face. We emphasized that collaboration is a set of strategic and tactical choices, that it is very influenced by people and politics, and that collective action poses problems.
These dynamics are very much alive in questions around collective collections. The presentation looked briefly at these. It considered retrospective collection coordination (digitization, resource sharing, shared print) which currently tends to be layered over relatively autonomously developed collections, optimized at the institutional level, and prospective collection development (where libraries work together to optimize at the system level through collaborative collection development, licensing and so on).
Here is an earlier presentation about the dynamics of collaboration, presented to ICOLC.
Our thinking is influenced by the work we did with BTAA.
And some thoughts on collaboration.
Picture: I took the picture of 'We live here' by Christina Grote. It is the tiled surface of a park bench in Gahanna, Ohio, supported by the Gahanna Parks and Recreation Foundation.