Better Together: The Successful Public/Academic Joint Use Library

Better Together: The Successful Public/Academic Joint Use Library

Michelle R. Desilets (Metropolitan State University, USA), Jennifer DeJonghe (Metropolitan State University, USA) and Michelle Filkins (Metropolitan State University, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-3914-8.ch059
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The Library and Learning Center at Metropolitan State University is a shared space between the Metropolitan State University Library and a branch of the Saint Paul Public Library system. This chapter reviews the literature on joint use libraries and provides a history of the planning and development of the Library and Learning Center. In detailing the history of both organizations and the current state of collaboration ten years after the building opened, this chapter will describe how the experience at Metropolitan State aligns with that of similar joint use libraries. Furthermore, by highlighting collaborative services and programming, the chapter will be instructive for libraries that wish to form collaborative relationships outside of a joint use model. It will also describe the strengths of the joint use model in meeting the shared goals of community engagement and lifelong learning, while remaining cognizant of the challenges that are inherent in any joint use library initiative.
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Literature Review

In this section the authors will review the literature on:

  • Joint use libraries in a broad sense, and the major types of joint use libraries;

  • Trends related to joint use libraries and partnerships;

  • Other university library-public library joint use examples;

  • Planning and staff considerations for joint use libraries; and

  • Engagement and community partnerships.

Joint use libraries are collaborations between different kinds of libraries, most commonly between primary and secondary school-public, community college-public, university-public, university-community college, and community-university-public libraries (Collins & Duncan, 2006). In his 2003 book chapter “Joint-use libraries – The ultimate form of cooperation,” Bundy noted that while the number of joint use libraries is increasing, the number of joint use libraries in the United States is relatively small. “Worldwide, the number of such libraries, and experimentation with them, is growing. Forty per cent of public libraries in Sweden are joint-use, 40 per cent in South Australia, 9 per cent in Australia, 8 per cent in Canada, and less than 2 per cent in the USA” (p. 146). Many joint use libraries involve primary and secondary school-public library partnerships, particularly in rural areas, and several case studies have been written about joint use endeavors, including a study of Canadian academic-public partnerships (Sarjeant-Jenkins & Walker, 2014), Worcester, UK (Dalton, Elkin, & Hannaford, 2006), Loudon County, Virginia (Zolnik, Minde, Das Gupta, & Turner, 2010) and Stillman Valley, Illinois (Kluever & Finley, 2012).

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