Association of Research Libraries
Research Library Issues 291 — 2017
and perceived hindrances such as physical, cultural, administrative,
and psychological divides and boundaries? What might be some
approaches to work toward making this cooperative model a reality?
This is not to give an illusion that this is a simple undertaking, but
by imagining how this synthesis might look on the ground, we can
further develop how it could be achieved, why it’s important, and
what is needed to get closer to making such a model achievable.
Defining the Collaborative Model
“Collaboration,” a term widely used, is often perceived as synonymous
to cooperation and sharing responsibility without a motive beyond
the notion of working together. It is through the development of a
“collaborative model,” going beyond cooperation, that an interactive
process with meaningful progress and fruitful outcomes can emerge.
Through this ideology, librarians can provide more effective,
consistent, and rich service and support to their users. Approaches
to work and expertise in a shared, team-based manner, and the
development of a shared understanding of work and resources, will
increase exposure to and use of both general and special collections.
A collaborative model must center around the notion of permeating
the silos that exist for primary and secondary source materials. The
model begins with an overarching
attitude that there cannot be an
“us” and a “them,” and while each
member of a collaborative team
has particular skills that they
contribute, a suspension of this
bifurcation is an integral starting
point. How that work evolves is dependent on the structure and size
of the organization, but the collaborative model must begin with
trust and a shared understanding that access to and discoverability
of all resources is paramount. Territoriality should be non-existent
from all stakeholders’ perspectives. That is not to say that librarians
A collaborative model must
center around the notion
of permeating the silos that
exist for primary and sec-
ondary source materials.