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Cowles Library launches initiative to share print collections

May 28, 2013

The library directors of Drake University, Grinnell College, Grand View University, Central College, and Simpson College officially announced the formation of the Central Iowa Collaborative Collections Initiative (CI-CCI) earlier this month.

Teri Koch, collection development coordinator for Cowles Library at Drake University, and Pam Rees, director of the Grand View University Library, first became interested in this collaboration while attending a conference in Charleston, N.C. where they had the opportunity to attend the session “Shared Print Monographs: Making It Work.” Since January, they have been working to develop a shared print initiative with college libraries in close geographic proximity to Des Moines. This new initiative builds on the foundation of collaboration within the Iowa Private Academic Libraries (IPAL) consortium of which all CI-CCI colleges are members, and Rod Henshaw, dean of Cowles Library, is a past president.

CI-CCI has four immediate goals:

  • First, to responsibly reduce the size of local print collections by reducing duplication among the participating libraries so that library space may be freed up for other uses.
  • Second, to create and maintain a distributed, shared collection of these titles to ensure that circulating copies of them are retained within the group.
  • Third, to coordinate acquisitions with the goal of developing a shared collection among the participants to reduce duplication and to leverage acquisition funds.
  • Fourth, to establish an environment where exploration and additional areas of collaboration can flourish.

“Traditionally, many academic libraries have been book warehouses and we are trying to move away from that,” says Koch. “We want to keep items that people are actually using, items that we’ve identified that students need and want. By launching this shared print initiative, we can free up space for more pressing needs such as student study space, a learning commons, and archives.”

The colleges will work together with a consultant to identify overlap in the collections and low-use titles. From there, the group will decide which items should be retained and where they should be held. As a result of this collaboration, students will have access to print materials at all five of the colleges involved with the initiative. Koch says that if a student at Drake wants a book from Grinnell College, for example, the student will be able to receive the book within 24 hours.

The collaboration among the colleges in Central Iowa is unique because the schools involved aren’t just looking at their current collections, they are also planning on building collections in a collaborative way. That is, if one or two participating libraries already have a title, then another participating library could opt not to purchase it even though it might normally have been something that would’ve been bought.

“A big positive of this initiative is that we are going to be able to use our dollars in a more meaningful way,” says Koch. “We can be more deliberate about which books we buy and how we use our money. We won’t need to duplicate book purchases within the other colleges since we share the collections. We should be able to offer greater depth of materials.”

For more information, contact Teri Koch at 515-271-2941 or teri.koch@drake.edu.