Abstract: A Progressive Approach to Reducing Barriers to Resource Sharing: A Canadian Example
The University of Alberta Libraries (UAL) hold one the largest collections in Western Canada and recently opened a storage facility with capacity for five million volumes. UAL’s collection and staffing capacity make us a significant net lender of materials to other libraries. Being cognizant of this role, UAL is attempting, via consortial bodies at the local, provincial, regional, and national levels, to advance a progressive approach to resource sharing by reducing administrative burden and strategically working towards new ways of resource sharing via digital means. This presentation outlines our context and approach, offering a sense of adaptability and scalability that could be replicated in other contexts.
Scaling and extending the work UAL does at the provincial level to the regional and national level requires us to demonstrate a high degree of commitment to our partners. Often, net lenders can be hesitant to open the gates to their collections for fear of creating unmanageable demand. We accept that risk and, in general, are trying to develop a stronger sense of risk tolerance. One strategy we pursue is to remove barriers in resource sharing, via concrete actions such as the elimination of fees that generate small amounts of income from lending, longer and more flexible loan periods, and controlled digital access to unique materials. UAL is developing digitization priorities in part to support this practice, facilitating greater access to our consortial partners and anyone needing access to materials we may uniquely hold. Within a complex global environment, UAL continues to look for ways to reduce barriers to information, and to share our resources widely in keeping with our University’s raison d’etre of “uplifting the whole people”.
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