[October 21, 2016] On October 13, 51 librarians from around the state gathered at the Bello Center, Bryant University to attend an OLIS-Resource Sharing Working Group CE program Envisioning the Future of Resource Sharing in Rhode Island: Aspiration Meets Practicality. The purpose of the program was to ponder the library landscape in Rhode Island and envision the possibilities of the future.
The program started with a keynote presentation by Marshall Breeding, founder & editor of Library Technology Guides. Breeding delivered a scan of the current library technology industry with emphasis on resource management, discovery, and collaborative collection sharing. Mergers and acquisitions in the library technology sector over the last decade have left libraries with limited choices while vendors have expanded the scope of their services. For this reason, Breeding advised libraries to make demands of the services we desire. He also noted the broad range of economic capacity or support among libraries and the different trends between the academic and public libraries. Academic libraries are moving toward systems with strong integration with campus infrastructure. They seek article-level and index-based discovery, an API ecosystem, and a comprehensive electronic collection management. At the same time, print in public library remains strong and the need for systems that can manage the flow of print materials remains. While e-book lending has become mostly a routine service in public libraries, it is a minority component of most typical collection budgets.
Libraries are working to supplement library discovery indexes with linked data to allow discovery go beyond library resources. The movement to migrate from MARC to BIBFRAME, which utilizes open linked data, will make libraries more integrated with the World Wide Web.
Breeding concluded his talk with the focus on resource sharing. He stated the choice of systems are limited and almost all are built from an outdated resource sharing model. However, with proper support and customization, some libraries networks are able to fulfill the resource sharing need of their member libraries.
The second part of the program took the form of an open forum with featured guests; Marshall Breeding; Jenifer Bond, Lincoln School & Past-President of RILA; Aaron Couto, Cumberland Public Library & President of RILA; and Phyllis Humphrey, Archie R. Cole Middle School Library & Library Board of Rhode Island member. The open forum was moderated by Brian T. Gallagher, University of Rhode Island Carothers Library.
During the forum, many challenges facing LORI libraries were raised including restrictions imposed by e-book publishers, lack of time and adequate support in the school libraries, hospital and health sciences libraries needing an affordable ILS to be in place before 2017, and lack of a workable system for other libraries to request from OSL libraries. As one academic librarian asserted, it is easier for him to borrow from an out-of-state public library through OCLC than from RI public libraries.
Panelist Jenifer Bond noted that she has worked in various types of libraries in the past 11 years, but the conversations are the same when it comes to resource sharing. Librarians feel pressure to serve their local community first and see resource sharing as taking from their community and not as providing additional resources.
While looking at the wide array of options to lower the cost of resource sharing, open text books were noted as an effective way of lowering costs to academic libraries that keep textbooks in their collections and use interlibrary loan to share them with other libraries. Chief of Library Services Karen Mellor reported that the RI Office of Innovation is spearheading a RI Open Textbook Initiative.
OLIS and the LORI Resource Sharing Working Group hope to continue the conversation while investigating feasible resource sharing options with libraries. Please contact Chaichin Chen for questions or suggestions.