Best Practices for Shared Print Programs Education and Awareness

Note: This Best Practice uses the Good, Better, Best, Aspirational terminology

Introduction

Shared Print1,2 is a relatively new concept and requires a shift in thinking about library collections. For these reasons, it is important to educate the various stakeholders associated with member libraries as to its importance3. While some library staff and library administrators/directors will immediately understand the importance of a shared print collection as a way to preserve the scholarly record, college/university administrators and central finance officers will be more concerned with what financial benefits their institutions will reap that justify membership fees; some library staff will be concerned with what benefits their library (or their department) will get from the extra work they are asked to do while others may be confused about why they are prohibited from weeding materials that are no longer relevant to their user community; at academic institutions, teaching faculty will be concerned with how a shared print collection will affect their teaching and research, and how long they may need to wait to obtain a book that was once readily available on the shelf. Education and awareness documents4 should 

  • anticipate various stakeholder concerns and address them directly
  • clearly state how shared print programs provide opportunities to avoid costs or to reallocate campus space for other uses, while simultaneously ensuring that researchers can readily discover and access shared print collections
  • point out that shared print programs can facilitate collaborative, holistic collection development planning. 

The following narrative articulates best practices for Education and Awareness by breaking it into smaller types of informative documents: Mission Statements, Explanatory (Definition) Information, MOUs, and Information Aimed at Targeted Audiences. The narrative takes into account the concept that well-structured education will involve the use of various formats for information. The activities described here will increase the chances of buy-in by the various stakeholders needed to make shared print programs successful.

NOTE: Each level listed (Good, Better, Best, Aspirational) presumes all recommendations for any/all preceding levels, as noted. An easy-to-read table is located after the bulleted lists of criteria for each category5.

Good

  • Easy-to-find informational content (i.e., information about the program) on the shared print program website
  • Easy-to-find on-boarding documentation
  • Accessible informative materials that explain shared print
  • Accessible general marketing materials that explain the importance of shared print programs
  • A Mission Statement that mentions shared print or contains a discussion of sharing/collaboration
  • A website that is updated as needed

Better

  • A website that is dynamic and regularly updated (i.e., scheduled updates)
  • Downloadable PDFs of informative and marketing materials 

Best

  • Multimedia outreach and marketing materials designed for use by libraries currently participating or considering participation
  • A website that is dynamic and constantly updated
  • An Ad Hoc communications entity that could create a communications plan for the program 
  • Information that is targeted to specific audiences (e.g., deans/directors, university administrators, faculty, library staff)

Aspirational

  • ROI information, including downloadable PDFs
  • Communication documents that can be downloaded and used by member libraries, tailored to different audiences
  • A dedicated communications entity and a clear, dynamic, constantly updated communications plan
  • Messaging and/or toolkits for member libraries to aid in their talking with library patrons about the benefits of a shared print program
GoodBetterBestAspirational
Easy-to-find informational content xxxx
Easy-to-find on-boarding documentationxxxx
Downloadable PDFs of informative and marketing materialsxxx
A Mission Statement that mentions shared print or contains a discussion of sharing/collaborationxxxx
A website that is updated as neededxxxx
A website that is dynamic and regularly updated (i.e., scheduled updates)xxx
A website that is dynamic and constantly updatedxx
Accessible informative materials that explain shared printxxxx
Accessible marketing materials that explain the importance of shared print programsxxxx
Multimedia outreach and marketing materials designed for use by libraries currently participating or considering participationxx
An Ad Hoc communications entity that could create a communications planxx
Information that is targeted to specific audiencesxx
ROI information, including downloadable PDFsx
Communication documents that can be downloaded and used by member libraries, tailored to different audiencesx
A dedicated communications entity and a clear, dynamic, constantly updated communications planx
Messaging and/or toolkits for member libraries to aid in their talking with library patrons about the benefits of a shared print programx

Last Updated October 2021

  1. Shared print is defined by the Partnership in its Glossary as “the collaborative effort of libraries, institutions, centers, and consortia to document, preserve and provide long-term widespread access to their print collections. Shared print work also aims to decrease duplication of titles across many collections, resulting in more manageable collection sizes for participating members.” A more expansive definition can be found in the Wikipedia entry on Collective Collections.
  2. The value of shared print is highlighted in a Youtube video produced by The Rosemont Shared Print Alliance and the Partnership for Shared Print Book Collections. The video presents this importance as it applies to libraries, with shared print discussed as a key component to ensuring ongoing and future access to the scholarly record and to the future of research, teaching, and learning. Its value is also discussed at length in open source articles published in The Journal of Library Administration, College and Research Libraries, and Collaborative Librarianship. In addition, WEST has produced the document The Value of Membership in the Western Regional Storage Trust, and EAST has produced the webpage Why EAST Continues to Offer Value to Its Member Libraries, both of which address this.
  3. See the EAST webpage on Onboarding New Staff at EAST Member Institutions.
  4. Several shared print programs have materials aimed at specific groups across member libraries. Some examples include EAST and HathiTrust.
  5. In creating this document, the working group looked at various model education and awareness web pages. Model pages included those of EAST, Hathitrust, MSCC, and ReCap.