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Library Collaboration: what makes it work?. Murray Shepherd Waterloo, Canada IATUL, Krakow, June 2004. Where is Waterloo?. Definitions. Cooperation Coordination Collaboration. Factors that help Collaboration. Need and Benefit Positive Attitude Communication Vision, Mission, Goals

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library collaboration what makes it work

Library Collaboration: what makes it work?

Murray Shepherd

Waterloo, Canada

IATUL, Krakow, June 2004

  • Cooperation
  • Coordination
  • Collaboration
factors that help collaboration
Factors that help Collaboration
  • Need and Benefit
  • Positive Attitude
  • Communication
  • Vision, Mission, Goals
  • Resources – Financial, human & Leadership
  • Community Development
  • Example: A library might need an integrated online system, a storage facility for little used library materials, or, to purchase an expensive microform set or an online database.
  • more can be accomplished by working together
  • greater benefit accrues to the user community by pooling resources in a formal structure
  • benefits are not only economic; they can also be related to the informational, educational, cultural and social needs of the clientele and the partners
vision mission goals
Vision, Mission & Goals
  • participants need to have the same expectations, leading to a mission, objectives and to joint strategies
  • goals will generate enthusiasm and a willingness to solve problems collectively
  • sessions on vision and mission building with a facilitator may be necessary
positive attitude
Positive Attitude
  • mutual respect and trust
  • understand agendas, interests, expectations, incentives
  • compromise, no rigid rules
  • building relationships takes time
positive attitude1
Positive Attitude
  • Who needs to be involved?
  • The discovery of self interest
  • Honesty and integrity, mutual trust and respect bring dividends
  • Disagreement will occur, usually from misunderstanding - leadership and compromise is key to resolving differences
  • Upwards
    • Immediate superiors, managers and the library’s oversight body
  • Within
    • The people who are going to make the collaboration work
  • Among
    • Regular meetings among the principal agents of the collaboration
  • With the User Community
    • Develop formal and informal ways to inform library clientele of the advantages and benefits of the collaboration
  • Financial
    • early collaborative ventures should realise short-term cost savings
  • Human
    • expensive in the beginning
  • Leadership
    • fairness, good process skills, a credible presence, and knowledge of library practices
community development
Community Development
  • library leadership consciously enables library staffs to focus on user needs
  • local need is still real and immediate
  • underestimate the difficulty of collaboration
  • improved services and collections access for libraries users
  • Successful collaboration requires that Library leaders understand their organizations in order to ensure a positive response from staff to the necessary organizational change
  • Change can be implemented successfully only with significant awareness of and sensitivity to existing culture
positive attitudes toward the collaborative effort and the associated organizational change, can best be generated by beginning with a inclusive exercise to articulate vision and mission and to establish goals
  • Library leaders must be sensitive to prevailing and evolving attitudes among staff members.  One or more sessions with a credible and respected facilitator may prove necessary to develop or maintain a positive attitude among staff members.
Frequent, open communication is essential to the continuing success of a collaborative relationship.  Library leaders must work to keep both staff and senior university administrators apprised of ongoing activity, and to keep one another apprised of relevant activity within each individual member institution
  • Library leaders must remain focussed on staff needs and attitudes. The new collaborative community must be developed without adversely affecting the collaborators existing communities.
“Coming together is a beginning; keeping together is progress; working together is success.” – Henry Ford

Murray Shepherd

Waterloo, Canada