Purpose– Using three university library consortia China Academic Library and Information System (CALIS) (China), Greater Western Library Alliance (GWLA) (USA) and Joint University Librarians Advisory Committee (JULAC) (Hong Kong) as examples, the purpose of this paper is to compare the administration of three university consortia and to explore the cultural, educational and geopolitical forces that produce and shape university library consortia. Design/methodology/approach– The methodology used reviewed published and proprietary documents, interviews and observation. Findings– While the stated objectives are similar, the three vary markedly in size, funding source, and whether programming is a bottom-up decision or emanates from the central government. CALIS was started by China's Ministry of Education, who also helps in setting programmatic agendas and appointing managers; GWLA came into existence through the efforts of a small group of university librarians, elect their own board and set programming in response to member needs and suggestions; JULAC, initiated by the university librarians in Hong Kong has some support from the government through bodies charged with the oversight of the universities. The differing educational systems also influence programming, for example in the relative importance member libraries place on preferential inter-library loan. Originality/value– There are few comparative studies of library consortia found in Asia and the US comparative studies of consortia encourage an understanding of the benefits of different consortia models.
Library Management – Emerald Publishing
Published: Nov 10, 2014