Best Practices: Good, Better, Best

The Partnership for Shared Book Collections asks each member to strive to meet the level of the Partnership Best Practices to the best of the Member Program’s ability. While this can vary greatly depending on each member’s resources and scope of programs, it is suggested that shared print programs strive for at least Better-level practices in order to be good stewards of collections and members of shared print programs, but this can vary on ability, scope, and maturity of the program. Some of our Best Practices do not utilize or identify all categories or levels of practice (e.g., Good, Better, Best). In cases where a Best Practice does not, the decision to not include all levels was based on the belief that all criteria should be strived for, as all were practices that should be considered Best, and to not strive for them would be detrimental to the program or its member libraries. Some also lack a Good level because the Better level was already the current standard in the shared print community.

Practices identified as Good are baseline practices for the majority of shared print programs and partners. In many cases these are practices already agreed to per a shared print program’s MOU, or they are considered minimum-level practices for programs. They can be thought of as practices that libraries may already be adhering to as part of shared print stewardship.

Practices identified as Better are what the majority of our Best Practices are framed around. These are practices that may be standard in most shared print programs, but may not be required by an MOU, or may not be followed regularly.  They can be thought of as practices libraries should adhere to in order to be good stewards of collections and members of a shared print program.

Practices identified as Best are practices that exceed the expectations of the majority of shared print programs and member libraries that participate in those programs. These are often practices that are possible only when resources are available for shared print programs or member libraries. Still, they should be thought of as practices that ensure the preservation of and access to materials through shared print programs today and into the future.

The Aspirational category refers to practices that have been identified as being useful to successful shared print efforts, but that are still in the theoretical phase, or are still in the developmental stage, or are not yet widely used. These practices may utilize new technologies or approaches more commonly used in other disciplines or industries, but they represent solutions that are potentially more efficient or feasible for future shared print practices. Aspirational practices are not expected to be already implemented; rather they are meant to provide insight that may or may not be incorporated into the frameworks of the Good, Better, and Best levels in the future.

Last Updated October 2023