Instant Ideas and Collaboration

#uklibchat summary April – Collaboration outside of Libraries

In April we discussed collaboration outside of libraries, how we as libraries can build projects and collaborate with professionals outside of the library zone. Our featured articles showcased two wonderful projects that were built from collaborations with teachers, academics and musicians.

There is a full archive of all the tweets in the chat archive but the following is a summary of the discussions had. This is the last summary in this format. In future summaries will be made in Storify.


Q1 – What are some good examples of external collaboration – from personal exp., or general knowledge #uklibchat

  • Ext’l collaboration: I interviewed @emcit, podcaster.
  • Help out at @LISNPN and @clsig, two great collaborative LIS platforms!
  • Many run blogs e.g. @libfocus are great examples of external collaboration.
  • We’ve collaborated with diff groups such @CILIP_YH The portico. It’s great for a diff perspective fresh ideas.
  • Literature searches for people count as collaboration, right? They come up with questions, we come up with articles, answers.
  • The daily emails on the @Jisc mailing lists (lis-law, lis-link) are a great way to learn from fellow librarians.
  • We collaborated with @BigBookend during @WorldBookNight as could expand their audience base and also promote wider literacy
  • I’ve heard of both seed libraries and hack spaces set up in/with libraries. Both are interesting ways to engage new communities.

Q2 – Why collaborate outside the library?

  • Full disclosure 🙂 because of @sirhenrys2014 I’m now involved in a music blog @bpoolsentinel
  • Collaboration outside the library is good, like any networking. “Cross-polination” yields creative results
  • Advocacy, awareness, expansion of services and learning something new. Seeing “the library” differently
  • It is quite an exciting collab to be involved in… it’s so energising to work engage with non librarians
  • Collaborating outside lib brings new skills to one’s attn. I participate in a leadership chat and a tech chat ; learn lots
  • Different perspectives and experiences, avoiding reinventing the wheel and challenging “this is how it is” group think
  • I always try to get at least 2 twitter chats a month in, always good to learn and meet.
  • Open up to new ideas, spread our ideas, advocacy, access,
  • In this day, and with austerity agenda, advocacy and visibility are essential reasons #uklibchat we need to show our worth
  • Because some of us straddle multiple worlds so have no choice! But it brings in different views, ideas and resources.
  • I often collaborate with the local Voluntary Council to offer info/stats training to voluntary groups

Q3, How can we as librarians reach out to other communities to collaborate with us? 

  • We can work with other communities by attending meetings, asking others what they’re doing. Being curious.
  • Need to frame offers of help/collaboration in terms others understand – don’t rely on library terminology.
  • Great point. Can’t rely on others to know library jargon. We have to learn theirs. We’re on their soil
  • Show our value, demonstrate how the relationship can be mutually beneficial (e.g. law firm libs and @TheLawSociety)
  • Being clear, open and not presuming their — or your — rôles and capabilities before starting the relationship
  • I’ll be hated for this but… Don’t keep referring to yourself as “professional.” People will wonder why you need to tell them.

Q4 How to get buy-in from managers to collaborate outside your normal remit? 

  • Get buy-in for collaboration from managers: it’s professional development. Show connection between the work & the job description
  • I think if you can show that there will be value-add for both parties, managers may be inclined to buy in to collaboration
  • Outline the scope of collab – if it doesn’t interfere with current work and doesn’t break info barriers, let them know!
  • I found – if it benefits the library and you can show it does – buy in will be very easy to achieve simple as that
  • Always found tangible projects work. Shows benefits & something managers can shout about to their managers. chicken and egg?
  • Show managers that collaboration & sharing improves prestige of institution, is inline with goals and/or has cost savings. …
  • Collaborating outside lib brings new skills to one’s attn. I participate in a leadership chat and a tech chat…
  • Before any collaboration always a good thing to know if there are “boundaries” for both parties involved
  • Also the whole push is towards ‘significant income generation’ & ‘enterprising libraries’

Q5 What are the best tools for collaboration (ie google docs)?

  • Best tools for collaboration: online tools are great, but phone & /or face-to-face meetings are SO important
  • I find google docs useful for collaborative documents, we used Dropbox for file sharing for @sirhenrys2014
  • @GoToMeeting is useful for meetings – audio, video and screen sharing. Google Hangouts might be a good alternative
  • What about the good old telephone? Sometimes the benefits of collaboration need to be sold & a proper conversation will help.
  • Agreed I’d say phone, email, in person meeting can be just as good as shiny new tech
  • Although to be honest in pub libs google docs or other file sharing may be blocked anyway on staff side computers

Q6. What impact could this external collaboration give to you and your library?

  • Probably should have some statistics to show increased use of the space!
  • Potential income in the longer term depending on the nature of the collaboration and the partner
  • Impact external collaboration gives to me: more of an understanding of patrons’ struggles & daily life.
  • From experience of @sirhenrys2014 – national media interest, increased visitors to library
  • Increased global profile of @UCCLibrary
  • Certainly improves visibility of individual/library. I’m presenting a paper at #BIALL2015 on twitchats. Will be very visible!
  • Also find that collaboration can widen librarian’s skillsets, introduce us to new tech and build lasting networks

Q7. What have you found to be the advantages/disadvantages of external collaboration? 

  • Potential savings of time, effort and even avoiding costly error
  • Advantages of collaboration: a knowledge of how people use tools like social media, beyond what I can learn from articles
  • Also, for the shy, with external collaboration, you can avoid “small talk” & instead talk of goals upcoming plans
  • Opportunities for doing new things or old things in more exciting and effective ways
  • Benefits I found only. but I’ve been lucky in working with great collaborators. The wrong collaborators could make it difficult
  • External collaborators bring their different skills that we as librarians may be lacking
  • The problem with working with diverse orgs is sometimes u think it will be great because of diffs but can be too different
  • Disadvantage: not having clear goals and boundaries, leading to unnecessary conflicts and disappointments
  • Disadvantages of external collaboration: I haven’t found this, but managing time. No one external knows your workload
  • Disadvantage: you get too excited by partner org and don’t focus on what you will get out of it or don’t commit appropriately
  • Sometimes you don’t set out clearly enough what you’re doing & jump in too quick then you’re stuck w a bad project

Q8 What risks are involved when collaborating outside of your library? 

  • When working with others with very different methods or work patterns there can be a greater risk of failure
  • Risks of collaboration: disagreements. Not good if collaborators are powerful. Not so bad if they’re powerless…
  • Thanks @PodcastLib was trying to formulate this into 140. Power disparity needs to be managed
  • Risks – if we are away from our desks will service suffer or worse – will people not even notice?
  • Or indeed a risk of serious miscommunication due to different values/interests/work styles

Q9 part 1 – Is external collaboration just temporary, or can it lead to permanent relationships 

Q9 part 2 – and what kind of advantages could this bring an institution?

  • Definitely can lead to permanent relationships
  • I think many collabs/partnerships in pub libs are temporary one offs – for an exhib or event but not all
  • I think collab on expo can be temporary – but the relationship formed can be permanent? and called on later..
  • Can lead to longer relationships, enables more people to get involved & broaden benefits (new ideas etc)
  • New collections can arise from collaborations
  • School library collaborations can be one offs too but lasting contacts preferable & more beneficial

About siobhanmac

Loves Libraries, Books, and Sunshine!

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This entry was posted on July 25, 2015 by in Discussion Summaries and tagged , .


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