Shifting to a collaborative model

Dollar SignI think that this topic came about for me because I currently have two public library cards, and if I move somewhere else, then I would acquire another. If I paid rates in another local government area, such as for a holiday home (oh if only I could afford a bach!), then I would likely have another library card as well.

So I am counted more than once in “library statistics”, which skews the usage of public libraries.

And I can’t keep track of my completed reading, favourites or reading wishlists without employing a separate platform across multiple library systems.

Instead of having to prove myself at yet another library, why can’t I just sign up locally for the use of multiple library systems, with my data held securely & centrally? I could prove where I pay rates, and where I live, and I could review this data annually for localised funding allocation as needed.

Many public libraries across New Zealand also subscribe to the same e-resources, which entails negotiating with the same vendors but often for very different discounts, and different levels of service. Why not band together nationally and have a much stronger  collective bargaining power?

I know this moves away from a “one card” discussion but I see this as being one of the outcomes of freeing up resources currently used to set up multiple accounts for the same customer (aka me) across different systems.

It would be a case of making a commitment now, and it would cost us, to create a ‘one card for everyone system’, but we could then free up resources & staff time in the long term to create a better public library system for all New Zealanders.

With ultrafast broadband (UFB) on the way … eventually … then this ‘centralised’ system wouldn’t mean that all the staffing needs to be in one centralised physical space, but it could employ staff throughout the country and they could use the tools such as Skype, Wikis and webinars to work as a virtual team.

We’re a small country, and I feel that we should be working together collaboratively more often. Why not lead the way and show the world how it can be done? We’re already modelling national collaborations with Kōtui & APNK, so why not take it one step further with an integrated public library system across the board?


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