Open doors: Library cross-sector co-operation in Bristol, UK

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Chelin, J. (2015)

Purpose\ud \ud – This paper outlines the aims, activities and outcomes of a project to pilot a reciprocal borrowing scheme between public and academic libraries using existing cards, i.e. public library cards in the academic library and university ID cards in the public libraries. \ud \ud Design/methodology/approach\ud \ud – This is a case study providing practical information about the establishment and promotion of the service, and recounting the feedback from surveys of participants, prospective users and library staff. \ud \ud Findings\ud \ud – The project outcomes indicate that the reciprocal use of existing library cards between institutions and public libraries in a geographical area: was relatively simple once set up; was appreciated by all those who participated; had few teething problems; had had no appreciable impact on the availability of academic stock to University of the West of England (UWE) students; increased public library and academic library usage by target groups, e.g. school students 16 years and over, enabled the public library service to provide a significantly better offer of resources to its community, especially those who needed access to specialised stock, not normally available in a general public library service. \ud \ud Originality/value\ud \ud – The partnership between LibrariesWest (led by South Gloucestershire Libraries) and UWE Bristol Library Services is not unusual. However, the approach taken, i.e. to allow borrowers to use their own libraries’ cards without any data sharing between the respective systems, is fairly unique. The processes involved and the evaluation of the scheme are of value to other prospective partnerships where organisations are geographically aligned.
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