The foundation of a shared print program is the ability of member libraries to rely on each other’s commitments to retain volumes for a certain number of years, i.e., until a specific date, or indefinitely. Corollary processes for reviewing, renewing, or extending program elements, including retention periods; for replacing missing or damaged volumes; and for transferring commitments made by a member that can no longer maintain them are also integral components of this foundation. This best practice for retention and survivability is necessarily informed by the choices made about the scope of the shared collection and requires means for communication about local withdrawal decisions of retained copies and a dynamic and accessible dataset of retention commitments and uncommitted holdings.
In order to ensure sustainability and survivability of a shared print program, best practices include:
- Making initial retention commitments for a minimum of 10 years. Most programs have chosen to go with either 15 or 25 year retention periods.
- Agreements in an MOU or related Policy Guidelines document about the following program elements as outlined in the Partnership Best Practices documentation:
- replace/withdraw decisions
- exit clause
- goals and strategies for the program
- ability to develop reports for external bodies
- scheduled programmatic reviews