How Super-Consortia Saved Our Libraries from the Forces of Evil…and Themselves

Check out Mark Sandler’s Guest Editorial in the latest issues of Collaborative Librarianship, v6, n1, 2014

“Under the watchful eye of librarians and library administrators, library consortia are unlikely to flourish, instead, slowly withering over time from a lack of sustenance. In an effort to combat this, expect that consortia leaders will continual-ly refine and amplify their messaging, but to no avail. Without the superpowers of Aquaman, swimming upstream against a current of library self-interest would prove both exhausting and futile. A more promising strategy for library consortia—especially those with an expansive vision of their future role—is to redirect their messaging beyond library directors to win the support of library funders and library users. By painting a compelling picture of a better infor-mation future—a scaled up, cooperative future like the Justice League of America—consortia could potentially attract substantial funding and substantial powers. If it is indeed true that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts, then a managed network of libraries should be in a po-sition to realize President Wells’ vision, quoted in the header to this article, of “a union of strengths,” capable of delivering greater value at lower costs. For library funders and library us-ers, that would be super.”

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