Library Consortium – Gateway to development
The objective of the Education is to “encourage students to become active, compassionate and lifelong learners”. The primary purpose of education is supported by the libraries by providing resources and services in a variety of media to meet the needs of individuals, and groups for education, information and personal development including recreation and leisure.
The Library has a very important role in promoting the progress of knowledge. In today’s digital world, the role of the library is becoming more challenging. Due to the ICT impact and digitalization of the library resources, the role of the library and the librarians have totally changed from the document preservation to the knowledge management.
Library professionals are facing new challenges because of the unprecedented explosion of the information and its availability in different forms. As with most libraries in India, of any sort, budget and cutbacks are a constant concern. The rising costs of eBooks, databases and technology are not being matched by the budgets that remain the same or are continuously reduced. This creates the need to look for some efficient ways of collaborating and sharing.
A Library Consortium is a group of libraries who partner with an objective to participate in a common activity or pooling their resources for achieving a common goal. A consortium provides each institution with the ability to share resources without sacrificing the individuality of each member library. Consortia-based subscriptions to electronic resources provide access to a wider number of electronic resources at a substantially lower cost. E.g. IITs, IIMs Libraries Consortium.
The concept of Library Consortia in India emerged with the birth of Library Networks like DELNET (Developing Library Network) and INFLIBNET (Information and Library Network) in 1988, which were established to promote resource sharing. Collaborative projects and services have long been recognized as a means of achieving effectiveness and efficiency. Building on the knowledge of such initiatives, we need to focus on the ways in which library members can work collaboratively to reduce costs and to improve the quality of services. Shared information and services including shared collection management, will lead to tangible benefits such as achieving cost savings and creating faster and better service delivery.
A consortium is easy to form and easy to execute. Entities that participate in consortium pool resources but are otherwise only responsible for the obligations that are set out in the consortium’s agreement. It is just a contractual agreement for two (or more) existing entities to work together on that project while cutting down costs and increasing transaction speed.
Advantages of Library Consortium:
- Enhanced library services
- Access to the pool of resources
- Better delivery of services
- Cost Saving
- Professional networking
- To manage change
Library consortia could be specific library type, large or small, formal or informal, local, regional, national or international. It could lead from discovery to delivery like resource sharing through inter-library loan, cooperative collection development, shared e-resources, technology and networking support and service, shared database purchases, training, consulting and professional development.
Models of Consortia:
Open Consortia: This type of consortia is open-ended and member libraries have the freedom to join or leave from consortium at any time. Example: INDEST
- Closed Group Consortia: This type of consortia formed by the same type of members, and has a common need to collect the resources in specific Examples: IIM, CSIR.
- Centrally Funded Consortia: This type of consortia depends on the central funding agency and parent body shoulders the financial responsibility of running the consortia. Examples: UGC-INFONET,
- Shared-budget Model: This type of consortia emerges with the proportional sharing of funds of the participating members, which is operated through MoU for better understanding. Example: FORSA
- Publisher Initiatives: Various publishers offer a deep discount consortium price to participating libraries. Example: Emerald Full-Text Library published by the Emerald Publishing
In a similar way, there could be subject, group or region-based consortiums. Learning in the future in schools will be considerably different, and responsive information services will be dependent on effective cooperation between the Libraries. Undoubtedly, the schools face increasing pressure to deliver more services with fewer financial and staffing resources. Creating a consortium for the Libraries will give the School Libraries an opportunity to thrive in the modern information environment by leaning on the cooperative knowledge and shared resources of thousands of Libraries all over the world.
Horton, Valerie, and Greg Pronevitz, editors. Library Consortia: Models for Collaboration and Sustainability, American Library Association, 2015.
Parveen, Naushia. “Library Consortia: Meaning, Definition and Growth.” Library and Information Science Academic Blog. LIS BD Network, 20 Aug. 2018, http://www.lisbdnet.com/library-consortia-mdg/
By Vandana Gambhir
Head Librarian, Pathways World School,Aravali