Collaborative Librarianship: A Historical Sketch, an Appreciation and Thanks

By Gaetz, Ivan | Collaborative Librarianship, October 2015 | Go to article overview

Collaborative Librarianship: A Historical Sketch, an Appreciation and Thanks


Gaetz, Ivan, Collaborative Librarianship


Introduction

As Collaborative Librarianship moves to a new phase of service to the profession under the editorship of Jill Emery and Michael Levine-Clark, now is an optimal time to chronicle the development of the journal from its earliest days and record deep appreciation to all who have participated in the creation, management and operations of the journal since its inception.

Beginnings

Exploring the possibility of creating a scholarly journal emerged from an ad hoc conference in Denver, Colorado in June, 2005 that brought together librarians, academic leaders and government representatives to talk about the crisis in funding and other resource issues facing academic libraries in Colorado. This meeting, centered on "The Changing Face of Higher Education," was sponsored by a relatively new organization, the Colorado Academic Library Consortium (CALC), formed in 2002 following some initial meetings the previous year. While participants were aware of the strong tradition of collaboration among libraries in Colorado, it became clear how much libraries of the future will depend increasingly on their ability to engage and sustain collaboration in forging new and creative modes of partnerships.

Consortium Support

Following the June conference, the CALC Board met in October, 2005, to develop an "action agenda" for the organization with the top priority being to "change the concept of the academic library." First on the addenda, "Goal 1," was to "Promote academic library cooperation and partnerships" with three strategies: 1) host summits; 2) publish an academic online journal on this theme, and 3) foster closer understanding and cooperation among existing library organizations in the State. Over the coming year, George Jaramillo, Assistant Dean for Administrative Services at the Morgan Library, Colorado State University, and Ivan Gaetz, Dean of Libraries at Regis University, agreed to work on developing a detailed proposal for publishing an online journal.

A proposal was presented to the CALC membership at its annual meeting in April, 2006. In order to foster new thinking about academic libraries, a journal on "cooperative librarianship" should focus on all types of interlibrary cooperation and publish material that contributes to the analyses, understanding, critique and promotion of collaboration among all types of libraries and with non-library agencies. It was recommended that the publication would encompass not only scholarly material but also "best practices" related to library cooperation, reviews of publications and products supporting collaboration, and news items highlighting inter-library cooperation. It was suggested that the journal could also include, or link to, discussion groups or blogs on related themes, and embed podcasts that profile library collaboration in some way. The proposal provided a literature review of published material on library cooperation and on creating an online journal, and identified links to relevant existing online journals. While many articles dealt with library collaboration, as well as a few monographs on aspects of library service collaboration, (1) according to research by the journal development team, no journal existed, scholarly or professional, devoted specifically to library collaboration. This was surprising given how important collaboration has been for libraries, and its increasing significance for library resources and services.

In 2007, the only two journals published on the theme of library collaboration were the Taylor & Francis titles, Resource Sharing & Information Networks (RSIN) and the Journal of Interlibrary Loan, Document Delivery & Electronic Reserves (JILLDDER). RSIN's checkered publication history included a gap of three years between volume 18 in 2005 and volume 19 in 2008, and then finally its "incorporation" into JILLDDER in 2010. JILLDDER had a stronger publication record with annual volumes published consistently from 1990 through 2007 (and continues to the present). …

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