HomeWhatsYourStoryCampaignsSpecial ProjectsCollaboration › Collaboration: The Value of Cooperation

Collaboration: The Value of Cooperation

Table of Contents Previous Next

Cooperation between libraries and community agencies creates win-win situations. Libraries have a great deal to offer organizations serving baby boomers. Sandra Feinberg describes library assets that are valuable to potential community partners. The library provides free access to information and is seen as the community’s information center.

In large and small cities, the library is the community cultural center, offering opportunities for lifelong learning, recreation, and intellectual development. The library possesses a positive image, and communities respect and appreciate the library as an institution. Libraries have natural audiences, many of whom use the services and resources regularly. Potential partners can use the library as an information clearinghouse. The library is generally centrally located and accessible for meetings and gatherings. It provides a safe, free, and neutral place for programs.

As mentioned previously, partners and their audiences benefit when organizations cooperate. Nevins and Feldman and Jordan offer several advantages that result from cooperative relationships.

  • Cooperation allows access to resources the partners may not otherwise have. These may include staff, technology, information, knowledge or money.
  • Cooperation conserves resources and avoids duplication of services.
  • Cooperative relationships bring the advantage of ideas, synergies, and shared expertise. A variety of perspectives can generate new ideas, new solutions, and new opportunities.
  • Cooperation creates connections. Partners can facilitate and support each other’s efforts because each entity is hooked into communities the others may not reach, or may carry weight the others do not. There is great value in being connected.
  • Cooperation builds critical mass. Partnerships allow agencies to do as a group what cannot be done individually.
  • Cooperation allows agencies to become more effective in achieving their goals.
  • Cooperation improves community-wide information sharing, service delivery, and distribution of materials.
  • Cooperative partners can reach new and greater audiences through combined efforts.
  • Cooperation increases the credibility of all agencies involved.

Community partners working together to serve a common audience can achieve a number of results that would be less effective (and sometimes impossible) if the organizations worked alone. Partnering with other agencies and organizations will allow the library and its partners to serve new roles by:

  • Reaching new audiences.
  • Adding or sharing resources for programs and services.
  • Serving as resources for each other’s projects, programs and training.
    Developing new resources, such as directories, bibliographies and resource listings.
  • Marketing each other’s programs and services.
  • Planning and developing cooperative programs.
  • Writing joint grants.
  • Cross-training staff.

Adapted from: Feldman, Sari and Barbara Jordan. “Together Is Better: The Role of Libraries as Natural Community Partners.” Zero to Three. (December 2000/January 2001): 30–37

Table of Contents Previous Next

  • Montana State Library
  • P.O. Box 201800, 1515 East 6th Avenue
  • Helena, MT 59620-1800
  • Phone: (406) 444-3115
  • Fax: (406) 444-0266
  • msl.mt.gov