Daily Archives: December 14, 2011

Why Don’t Librarians Collaborate More?


After reading a lot of literature on libraries in this 21st Century, it finally struck me that one area in which I have read virtually nothing is collaboration among librarians. Having consulted with numerous libraries, I find more that do not share ideas and information than do. Naturally, that lead me to investigate, and guess what I found – virtually nothing.

There is the Committee on Institutional Cooperation (CIC) made up of 13 universities partnering with Google to digitize up to 10 million volumes from their collections. The CIC’s collaborative efforts span the academic enterprise of its members, including:
• cooperative purchasing
• course sharing
professional development programs
• library resources
• information technology
• faculty and staff networking

• study abroad
• diversity initiatives for students and faculty

There is also the Young Librarian Association in India “To promote and foster cooperation and communication among the members of YLA, the Library community, other library organizations, and other associations.”


OCLC says, “[A]lmost a decade into the 21st century, we can see that increasing technological and social changes impact how all individuals and groups cooperate. Coming from a long tradition of sharing, libraries may be better-suited than other industries to benefit from increased cooperative opportunities.”

ALA tried to create a Interdivisional Committee on School/Public Library Cooperation (AASL/ALSC/YALSA), but it was organized by YALSA, and had so many restrictions, who knows if it even got off the ground. Another example of bureaucracy at work.

Almost every state has some form of regional cooperative, such as Upper Peninsula Region of Library Cooperation (UPROC) for Upper Peninsula and Northern Michigan, the New Jersey Library Cooperative, and Florida’s Panhandle Public Library Cooperative System, and many more. These include all types of libraries.

Of course, every state has a State Library Association comprised of dues-paying members, some of whom actually attend the annual conference. Many more don’t. Which is another reason to ask – Why don’t librarians collaborate more? In this new frontier of librarianship, doesn’t it seem important for librarians to collaborate and share their experiences? Most organizations call it sharing their “lessons learned.”

There are many librarians who are creating success stories in their local library, and how many share those with their colleagues?

How many colleagues call up or visit their neighbor to see what challenges they are facing and successes they have achieved?

How many organizations have a means to routinely share their success stories?

What obstacles exist that prevent librarians from sharing their achievements – problems – issues – challenges?

Doesn’t sharing experiences with colleagues equate to professional development? Who doesn’t need professional development?

My suggestion – If you want to be a successful 21st Century Librarian, COLLABORATE MORE WITH YOUR PEERS!

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