Collaboration and Competition in Special Libraries

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Librarianship has a long tradition of collaboration and cooperation between libraries, but the literature yields scant evidence of formal partnerships in practice in special libraries. This column explores the barriers to collaboration for special libraries, from organizational culture to legal constraints, as well as the potential benefits and how librarians can overcome the barriers to reap these benefits. Different types of collaboration, including among similar special libraries and between special libraries and other types of libraries and related organizations, as well as informal and formal cooperation, and short-term and long-term partnerships, are discussed. Collaboration and cooperation were part of the impetus to form professional associations. The column provides a brief history of professional library associations and their role in supporting library partnerships in the United States. The conclusion explores how the increasingly digital nature of information and library work affects collaborative library efforts and where the future of these efforts may lie, especially for special libraries.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)142-152
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Library Administration
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 17 2015

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Public Administration
  • Library and Information Sciences


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