Joint-use libraries & Cooperative efforts of libraries.

Genevieve Hart


"You librarians are light years ahead of us" - so an American academic is quoted in the introduction to these books, when
confronted with his university library's cooperative ventures. The refrain "librarians are good at cooperating" runs
through these two "separates", special monographs published simultaneously as the journal Resource Sharing &
Information Networks, Volume IS, Number I, 200 I and Volume 16, Numbers I and 2, 2002, respectively. Surely the
comment can be applied to South Africa - where our libraries' consortia might well show the way in the current higher
education mergers and where our public library systems rely on cooperation between provincial and local governments
(however uncertain that particular partnering might be at the moment). However, a closer look at the casestudies inside
these two books reveals how limited our vision has been. Despite all the calls for "transformed" library structures in the
early I990s, we still have separate library sectors - public, academic, school, special - , with little cooperation among
them beyond interlibrary lending.

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