January 5, 2008
To: MOBAC Administrative Council
From: MOBAC ILL Committee
Re: System Consolidation Proposal
The draft “System Consolidation” document was the topic of a long and spirited discussion at the MOBAC ILL Committee meeting on December 11th. The overarching perspective of this draft assumes that a regional consolidation should and will happen, well before any cost, staffing, or other logistical issues have been researched in good faith. We wish that this proposal had been presented from more of a fact-finding perspective. We would like to see an impartial exploration of the potential ramifications of this proposal take place before the system consolidation is advocated for. It is the MOBAC ILL Committee’s opinion that there may be significant issues affecting the loaning of materials should we consolidate into a larger regional group. We would like to see these issues, and associated challenges, identified in a systematic manner, before deciding whether or not to consolidate.
Some of the specific issues identified in our discussion include:
- Hearing directly from the Administrative Council ways in which this consolidation will “enable resource sharing to work better and more seamlessly” (Draft System Consolidation White Paper – Section 3).
- Defining service expectations in a possible consolidation. (MOBAC already uses OCLC as a standard and has funding assistance for OCLC rates. The ILL Committee hosts training sessions and facilitates peer-to-peer support, which is particularly beneficial to the smaller libraries. Staffing is more or less adequate for the current system configuration.) What would be the benefits to MOBAC in general and to ILL service in particular? In essence, what would change?
- What new responsibilities would consolidation bring to the ILL Committee?
- Balancing the needs of our multi-type, academic libraries with those of the strongly public library based systems with which we will be affiliated.
- How we would continue to mentor within a larger group.
- Would this consolidation endanger our affiliation with any current member libraries?
- Perhaps the possibility of having a few key libraries join for the first year should be discussed, or other options identified.
- Clear communication is vitally important. We are concerned about the communication process within a larger group, how input is sought, and how feedback is considered by the larger group.
- How consolidation affects our role as a committee.
- The possibility of Increasing costs to service a larger community, especially with regards to staff time needed to serve a much larger group of libraries to whom we would have primary loaning responsibilities.
- Defining an ILL model. What type of ILL loaning model does Admin Council see? Economics of scale might not be applicable in this proposal with regards to ILL.
- How to create a more reliable and timely delivery service, given the expanded distances involved.
Providing high quality and efficient interlibrary loan service is a priority for all MOBAC libraries, and the MOBAC ILL Committee is a vital part of that process. If participating in a much larger consortium compromises our ability to provide priority lending to, and borrowing from, local libraries then service to our patrons will suffer. ILL Committee meetings afford members the opportunity to discuss issues and solve problems in a peer-to-peer environment that isn’t duplicated elsewhere, and the end result of this sharing is better service. We support the Reference Committee’s position that “for us, the strength and value of MOBAC is in its committees”, and we would like to see them continue.
The ILL Committee looks forward to a constructive discussion with the Administrative Council on these issues.
(Signed below by all members in attendance at the December 11, 2007 meeting)
Stephanie Stainback (CAB)
Rebecca Bergeon (CSUMB)
Bill Rawson (HCL)
Kirk Hall (MPC)
Bridget McConnell (MPL)
Irma Fink (NPS)
Zooey Lober (NPS)
Jean Chapin (PG)
Kristin Meyers (PG)
Anthony Lacono (SAL)
Margaret Dawson (SCZ)
Susan Elgin (SCZ)
Susan Renison (WPL)
Karen Belick (WPL)