Resource Sharing Consortium, SHARES, Launches Several Projects

The RLP’s SHARES group has completed a year-long Policy Rethink and launched projects resulting in changes in practice for many SHARES members.

SHARES is the long-running resource sharing consortium for members of the OCLC Research Library Partnership, and currently encompasses about 100 libraries from 75 institutions in six countries. Besides providing each other’s patrons with privileged, expedited access to rich and varied collections, SHARES participants also collaboratively address collection-sharing challenges faced by every member library and by the community at large.

The SHARES Executive Group recently completed a year-long Policy Rethink, which engaged all SHARES participants in a facilitated conversation around five themes:

  • encourage evidence-based processes
  • build in flexibility
  • enhance access
  • embrace local procedures that add value
  • mitigate international sharing costs

The conversations launched several ongoing projects and resulted in significant changes in practice for many SHARES members. Policy Rethink outcomes include:

  • a reciprocal onsite borrowing program that just successfully completed its pilot phase
  • a working group developing protocols for the sharing of special collections within SHARES
  • an opt-in free-copies reciprocal subgroup
  • wide adoption of 16-week loan periods for shared physical items
  • a new SHARES Best Practices working group

In the coming year, a slate of newly elected SHARES Executives will engage with member institutions in conversations and activities centered around four major topics:

  • accessibility of ILL materials as a standard, rather than the exception
  • building up skill sets essential to collection-sharing professionals
  • advocacy for the value of collection sharing, and for specific policies and processes
  • lending e-books

The 14-member SHARES Best Practices working group has hit the ground running and formed themselves into seven subgroups:

  • planning outputs and engagement opportunities with SHARES participants
  • reciprocal onsite access
  • physical delivery
  • e-delivery
  • advocating for ILL (working with the SHARES Executive Group)
  • sharing special collections (working with the group developing high-level sharing protocols)
  • working with other consortia

SHARES is launching two surveys in September: one to gauge the value of SHARES (and how well SHARES is delivering on that value) and the other to gather information for a detailed SHARES reciprocal onsite access directory.

This promises to be an exciting and impactful year for SHARES. We’re always working on better and faster ways of “getting to yes” when it comes to placing research material into the hands of those who need it. Learn more about SHARES and how to join.

For More Information

For more information about this work, please contact OCLC Research.

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