Restructuring Library Collaboration Strategy, Membership, Governance

« Academic libraries typically serve individual higher education institutions, yet their objectives require that they achieve greater negotiating power, more efficient distribution of collections, and stronger systems and services than even the largest academic library can provide itself. As a result, academic libraries have sought for more than a century to generate cross-institutional scale. In this paper, I examine efforts to generate that scale, including consortia and other membership organizations, which collectively I term “collaborative vehicles.” Yet collaboration is not good in itself, but rather only insofar as it supports libraries’ objectives as they develop and change over time. One of the great challenges facing academic library leaders is their understandable desire that their collaborative vehicles stay in sync with changes in their own objectives and the broader context in which they operate. (…) »