Moving from Co-Location to Cooperation to Collaboration: Redefining a Library's Role Within the University

Moving from Co-Location to Cooperation to Collaboration: Redefining a Library's Role Within the University

Rosemary Bodolay (University of Wisconsin – Madison, USA), Steve Frye (University of Wisconsin – Madison, USA), Carrie Kruse (University of Wisconsin – Madison, USA) and Dave Luke (University of Wisconsin – Madison, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-3914-8.ch060
OnDemand PDF Download:
No Current Special Offers


Through collaboration with faculty and other campus partners, libraries have become centers of innovation in teaching and learning with technology. The authors, representing library, technology, and program staff from partnerships at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, will present a framework based on Joan Lippincott's definitions of co-location, cooperation and collaboration. Learn how to assess and develop your partnerships and how the diversity and adjacency of learning spaces, resources, services, and staff are redefining the library and the library's role within an academic institution.
Chapter Preview


Joan Lippincott (2009) defines the characteristics of different levels of partnerships: co-location, cooperation, and collaboration, and regularly refers to these levels in talks and presentations (p. 26). This chapter explores more in-depth definitions of each level, and provides some examples from the University of Wisconsin-Madison to illustrate such partnership levels. Partnerships can evolve from one level to another, and examples of that evolution will help readers understand that a library can use this framework to shape or transform their work with others. By providing an overview of relationship factors to consider when assessing the levels of your own alliances, other institutions will understand the dynamics of those partnerships better. You can approach a new relationship with a mindset that allows you to choose the level you want for the highest benefit to your library, to the partnership, and to the users served by the alliance. Ultimately, a full collaboration can allow for a redefinition of the role of the library in the academic institution by shaping the library’s contributions to the academic success of students in new ways.

The learning objectives for this chapter are:

  • Understand the framework of co-location, cooperation, and collaboration in order to assess current and future partnerships.

  • Learn the factors that define relationships in order to determine the appropriate types of partnerships for your library.

  • Identify opportunities to change or help library partnerships evolve in order to support the institution’s role in student retention and success.



As library collections move online and analog collections are weeded, academic libraries are repurposing spaces once used to house physical collections. These developments present libraries with an opportunity to partner with colleagues from across campus in order to pilot instructional initiatives and expand academic opportunities for the communities being served. In addition, library space is being used to provide students with increased access to academic support services including assistance with research, writing, digital design, tutoring services, and academic advising. In fact, David Lewis (2007) cites this opportunity as a key strategy that can help create the model for academic libraries of the future: “Redevelop the library as the primary informal learning space on the campus. In the process partnerships with other campus units that support research, teaching, and learning should be developed” (p. 420). At the same time, libraries are also being transformed by student expectations related to food and beverage services and ubiquitous wifi and electric power. Many campuses are making a considerable investment in library spaces to meet these expectations and bring together additional services. In an exploration of the library’s new role in the learning spaces landscape, Appleton, Stevenson, & Boden (2011) note that the “success of new or refurbished library buildings with their long opening hours and strong emphasis on service culture has led to a recognition that it can be both more efficient and more satisfactory for students to provide a range of university services such as welfare counselling and academic support in the library building” (p. 349).

Complete Chapter List

Search this Book: