A shared print program (SPP) is a joint effort by libraries to house, manage, and provide access to their collective physical collections, usually collections of monographs and/or serials. The goal of shared print programs is to preserve and provide access to the scholarly record in its original print form, typically a predetermined number of unique items, such as specific editions of books and complete runs of journals. For groups of libraries and consortia considering starting a shared print program for print books, print journals, and/or other materials there are a variety of factors to consider and decisions to make. While every new SPP is different and situations will vary, this document will provide recommendations and information resources to utilize during the start-up process.
An entity considering starting a new SPP should:
- Consider its goals by asking the following questions:
- What materials do we plan to retain (See Collection Scope of Shared Collections)?
- How long of a retention period are we asking libraries to commit to (See Best Practices for Retention Period)?
- What is the best way for our program to maximize member libraries’ collection strengths so that we have a collective collection that is diverse and inclusive (See Diverse Collections: An Interpretation of the Library Bill of Rights)?
- What type of model, distributed or centralized (See Wikipedia entry on Collective Collection), is most appropriate, and how does this affect storage options?
- Which collection analysis tool is best for our program (See Collection Analysis Tools and Vendors)?
- How will we define and identify scarce/unique titles (see Best Practices for Scare Copies)?
- How many shared copies are needed within our program?1
- Start by reviewing the current shared print programs in its region to see if their goals align with its goals to determine whether a new program is even necessary or how your proposed program compliments an existing program. The following links list SPPs that specialize in books and/or journals.
- Print Books: Member programs of the Partnership for Shared Book Collections (the Partnership).
- Print Journals: Rosemont Shared Print Alliance.
- Print Books and Journals (international): EPICo – European Print Initiatives Collaboration
If you have determined that a new program is not necessary, and you would like to join an existing program whose goals align with your proposed goals, consult Communications & Advocacy: Introduction to Shared Print, Starting or Joining a Shared Print Program: Joining an Existing Shared Print Program, and Best Practices for Community and Trust Building.
If you decide to start a new shared print program, you should
- Utilize Partnership Information Resources, such as the following:
- The Partnership’s Shared Print Toolkit webpage, including:
- Partnership Member Resources, including:
- The Shared Print 101 for New Program Officers document
- The Partnership’s Best Practices (these will guide an SPP’s work), especially the following best practices, which we think would be most appropriate to future program managers and directors who are considering starting a program, or have just started one, listed in the order of importance:
- MOUs and Program Assessment
- Policy Development and Program Management
- Education and Awareness
- Collection Analysis and Collection Scope
- Discovery and Disclosure
- Geographic Distribution and Retention Period
- Inventory and Transferring Commitments
Once your shared print program is operational, you can use the Partnership’s Best Practices Assessment Tools to assess it.
1Bogus, Ian, Candace Arai Yano, Shannon Zachary, Jacob Nadal, Mary Miller, Helen N. Levenson, Fern Brody, and Sara Amato. “A Model to Determine Optimal Numbers of Monograph Copies for Preservation in Shared Print Collections.” C&RL [forthcoming September 2023].
Last Updated September 2023