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Consortium Programs

Consortium programs allow libraries to improve services to patrons by combining resources and to strengthen each other through collaboration. 

A consortium differs from a simple vendor discount or group purchase in that the participating libraries enter into an ongoing relationship involving a shared purpose, shared responsibilities, trust, and teamwork.   A consortium arrangement tends to require formal leadership roles, a written governance policy, and regular communication among the members.

NTLP can assist a library consortium by serving as a backbone support organization.   The role of such an organization is to help plan, manage, and support the program by providing a support infrastructure.  On behalf of a consortium, NTLP can

  • Establish an email mailing list to facilitate communication among the participating libraries.
     
  • Serve as an agent for the consortium for financial transactions, contracts, and purchases.
     
  • Handle logistical and administrative details as needed.
     
  • Assist with project coordination, data gathering, and technical support as needed.
     
  • Serve as the consortium's voice in relationships with vendors and other organizations.
     
  • Track and mediate issues as needed.
     
  • Provide professional and technical consulting services as needed.
     

There are benefits to using an independent organization with dedicated staff for these tasks rather than relying on the staff of the participating libraries.  Among them:

  • Avoiding the appearance -- or the reality -- that any one member library has an inappropriate level of control over consortium resources and operations.
     
  • Avoiding the appearance -- or the reality -- that any one member library is required to commit an excessive amount of resources to consortium operations.
     
  • Ensuring the sustainability of the consortium over time if members leave or have staffing or budget changes
     

Consortia supported by NTLP are self-governing.  The use of NTLP as a support organization is an optional arrangement which the participating libraries may elect to change at any time.

Consortium expenses are paid entirely by the participating libraries. 

During FY 2012, TSLAC funding allows NTLP to support consortia for TSLAC-accredited libraries in the NTRLS service area. In FY2013 and after, NTLP will require cost recovery to be part of any consortium support arrangement.  Such an arrangement may involve NTLP partnership for the participating libraries or a fee-for-service model.

 

 

Current Consortium Programs Supported by NTLP

 

North Texas Libraries on the Go -  Downloadable digital media, including e-audiobooks and ebooks.  NTLP's role in this consortium includes:

  • Coordinating collection development based on the consortium's collection development policy
  • Monitoring the collection development budget
  • Adjusting the number of copies purchased for each title, based on the consortium's collection development policy
  • Gathering statistics and reporting them to participating libraries
  • Serving as a central point of contact for vendors, as needed
  • Assisting with technical details as needed
  • Investigating new developments relative to library lending of digital media, and communicating new information to the participating libraries
  • Facilitating meetings and other special events
  • Supporting an email mailing list for communication among the participating libraries.

 

North Texas Library Consortium  - Evergreen ILS.  NTLP's role in this consortium includes:

  • Project management during ILS migrations or system upgrades
  • First line of technical support for ILS issues
  • Assistance with administrative and logistical tasks
  • Serving as fiscal agent for financial transactions, contracts, and purchases
  • Serving as a central point of contact for vendors and other organizations
  • Professional and technical consulting services
  • Supporting an email mailing list for communication among the participating libraries.