A case for collaboration

Words about collaboration
Image from wordle.net

I went to the New England Library Association conference on October 21.  A common thread ran through all of the sessions I attended: collaboration among libraries makes things happen.

BYOD: Supporting patrons’ devices in the library

Panelists– Amy Andreasson (Eldredge Public Library; Chatham, MA), Dean Baumeister (Memorial Hall Library; Andover, MA), Mat Bose (Hooksett, NH Public Library

In this session one panelist mentioned how librarians could gain practice with a popular device.  If neither they nor their respective libraries own the item, they could borrow it from another nearby library that does.  Perhaps area libraries could coordinate purchases so that each library has a different set of devices (within reason–Some devices might be popular enough that most libraries would need their own. ).  Instead of duplicating efforts libraries would have a wider range of devices for the same costs.

Programming partnerships with Maine Humanities

Panelists–Lizz Sinclair (Maine Humanities Council), Brenda Harrington (Belfast Free Library), Rick Speer (Lewiston Public Library), Holly Williams (Pittsfield Public Library)

One popular Maine Humanities Council/library partnership is the Let’s Talk About It Program.  If a library does not have the ten people needed to participate, it can join forces with another library.  This concept could apply to other programming as well.  Two or more libraries could share the workload and use the strengths of each library.

Culture and collaboration: Speaking the language of faculty

Speaker–Laura Saunders (Simmons College; Boston, MA)

Despite different terminology librarians and subject faculty both want students to be critical users of information.  K-12 education cannot develop these skills alone.  The schools need higher education to continue the work.  I would add that public libraries also have a role in that not all information use is academic.

Connecting with our community through research consultation

Speaker–Laura Hibbler (College of the Holy Cross; Worcester, MA)

This session addressed my theme the least directly.  Still, the Holy Cross librarians looked at the examples of other libraries in planning their personal research service.

It isn’t just a picture from the past: It holds my story

Panelists–Steve Butzel & Nicole Cloutier (Portsmouth, NH Public Library), Dale Valena (University of New Hampshire)

Since both the Portsmouth Public Library and the Portsmouth Athenaeum have online exhibits on the city’s North End neighborhood, they have coordinated and cross-promoted these exhibits.  Check out the Public Librarys North End House History Project and the Athenaeum’s North End photos.  A Civil War exhibit at the University of New Hampshire has also traveled to other libraries.

I don’t wish to reduce the conference to a single theme (and a much-used theme at that).   All the same the speakers made strong cases for inter-library cooperation.