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Collaboration: Partnering With Corporations

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Some libraries are hesitant about partnerships between libraries and corporations or businesses. Some believe that by accepting money, services, or products the library compromises its integrity. In addition, libraries fear partnering with corporations or businesses will require them to relinquish some control. Library administrators and trustees must ensure competitive bidding rules are not circumvented and that the partner does not promote its partnership with the library in a way which makes it appear other ventures of the corporation are endorsed by the library. Don Sager, library author and publisher, concedes that finding a middle ground that “ensures the library’s integrity while giving the corporation something tangible” is not easy.

Many libraries accept the challenge of partnering with corporations and experience great success in expanding services or extending resources. The Broward County (Florida) Library maintains over 500 partnerships, most of which are informal. Some partners donate materials, such as books; others donate large sums of money. With the help of its partners, Broward County Library has successfully brought new services and new resources to its community, resulting in a high degree of community support. Appealing to corporations generally requires a personal contact and a meeting. Below are some ideas relating to the development of the library-corporation partnership.

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  • 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