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Resource Sharing


Community members are aware of and benefit from greater access to library resources beyond what they have locally. Libraries gain efficiencies and cost-savings through shared and collaborative library services.


Colorado’s long and rich history of resource sharing has made library services more robust, well-used, and equitable in every region of the state. Library leaders continue to recognize that all libraries are stronger when they work together.

Libraries collaborate through statewide, regional, and other consortia services to share materials and other resources. Through shared integrated library systems, interlibrary loan, and a statewide courier service, among other services, library users enjoy seamless access to more materials than are available locally. Along with providing access and expanding local collections, these networked systems also focus on efficiency and cost saving for local libraries.

In addition, when libraries use cooperative purchasing agreements to procure materials, resources, and services, the cost savings allows local tax dollars to go farther.

Another hallmark of Colorado’s library network is the Colorado Libraries Collaborate (CLC) reciprocal borrowing program. Cardholders from every public library may engage with any other public library (and major school districts, academic libraries, and several special libraries and cultural heritage organizations) to enjoy library services throughout the state.

Sharing goes beyond physical resources to expertise. With a commitment to collaboration, Colorado libraries freely share practices, gain ideas, and strengthen libraries in every region of the state.

A child at a computer station.

Checklists as PDF

Resource Sharing Essentials

Checklist for All Public Libraries

  • Participate in free regional and/or statewide resource sharing programs, at least as a borrowing library, and actively promote these programs to library users.
  • Participate in and promote the Colorado Libraries Collaborate program, offering reciprocal borrowing to cardholders of other Colorado libraries.
  • Make it easy for library users to explore and request materials from the local library and other libraries. Automate the library collection with online access for community members.
  • Lend freely to other libraries within the constraints of local capacity.
  • Participate in the Colorado Library Consortium’s statewide courier service either directly or via a community stop.
  • Take advantage of cooperative purchasing agreements as appropriate to save time and money while providing more options for library users.
  • In collaboration with a consortium, share access to databases or electronic collections in compliance with licensing agreements.
  • Join regional meetings, professional development opportunities, and online and state-level discussions to share, contribute, and learn.
  • Practice timely holds management to ensure requested materials are promptly transferred to their areas of origin or need, including checking transit status.
  • Add resource sharing cost savings and other benefits to the library’s reports, at least quarterly, to the board and/or other governing body, and to the annual report.

 Resource Sharing Essentials +

 Checklist for Larger Libraries

  • Contribute resources and/or staff to support Colorado’s resource-sharing programs.
  • Balance borrowing and lending services when implementing resource sharing with other libraries.
  • Offer community members the option to initiate their own library materials requests, including from other libraries.
  • Use a request and delivery system for added access and options for those in the community. Adopt and implement the Colorado Interlibrary Loan Best Practices.
  • Provide access to databases or electronic collections in compliance with licensing agreements.
  • Participate in the statewide courier service as a community stop to support smaller and remote libraries.
  • Participate in a shared bibliographic database, when appropriate, regardless of the automation system used.
  • Provide opportunities for staff to share their expertise with other libraries, such as through mentoring, library tours, loaning staff to other libraries for special projects, etc.
  • Encourage library staff to join collaborative groups of people who have similar jobs in other libraries.
  • Analyze use of collaborative services to determine cost savings, use changes, and other data that can inform future management decisions.
  • Report regularly to boards of trustees and the public on reciprocal borrowing activities and cost savings.
  • Collaborate with local school(s) to offer public library cards for student access to e-resources and other public library materials.

Develop and/or provide access to Open Educational Resources to expand educational support to library users and particularly students.


← Return to the Standards  Full Resource Sharing Standard as PDF  Resources (coming soon)

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