Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Cooperation - Shrinking?

I was going to just post Peter Bromberg notes on leaving Library Garden as a link in a long list of links. But then I thought better of it. He takes the time upon his departure from the South Jersey Regional Library Cooperative (SJRLC) to reflect on the continuing pattern of library cooperatives to being consolidated ... usually driven by budget forces rather than by a plan or vision.

It happened in Connecticut in 2003. It is happening now in Colorado, Massachusetts, and Illinois. It has been happening, in a way, to the OCLC "partner" systems over the course of the past year to year-and-a-half.

Now, let me note, I used to be the chief honcho at one of the multi-type library cooperatives in Connecticut. That single, state-wide organization had to fight for its life in the last state budget cycle. The systems in Illinois have been more than decimated. Several have simply ceased to exist!

Most of these cooperatives have a long history, and are the results of grassroots cooperative efforts of librarians to provide better service to the public. Most date from the 1960s.

I wrote about some of my experiences, and personal knowledge, with multitype cooperatives in an article which was published by ASCLA [the ALA division, the Association for Specialized and Cooperative Library Agencies]. As I look now, I can't beleive that it has been a decade already!

It is sad to see some parts of the consolidation. I was in Connecticut when that happened, and while the Connecticut Library Consortium is, by all accounts, successful, I think some of the personal touches have gone away. As it, they are still providing some of their services based on the old [CLSU] regions.

Maybe I am just reflecting that change is hard. In a way, I hope that is all that I am reflecting. Peter has some comments on the process in New Jersey. I suggest you read his thoughtful post/article.


  1. Thanks for the shout out Michael, and for the link to your article. I look forward to reading it. Perhaps we can converse a bit more on the topic in the near future.

  2. Thanks, Peter.

    It was only later that I realized that I had also written a little when the Illinois coops (particularly North Suburban) collapsed because of delayed state funding. It was here: http://michaelgolrick.blogspot.com/2010/05/impacts-of-budget-cuts.html

    (Or by date, May 12, 2010.)

    By the way, I think very highly of your new boss!