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Academic library directors' perceptions of joining a large library consortium sharing an integrated library system: A descriptive survey

Dennis E Krieb, University of Nebraska - Lincoln


The collective holdings of CARLI' s (Consortium of Academic and Research Libraries in Illinois) “I-Share” catalog total approximately 32 million items. It is the third largest academic catalog in the United States, however only 76 of CARLI' s 148 academic libraries participate in I-Share. This descriptive survey examined the factors that influenced a CARLI academic library director' s decision to join, or not join, I-Share' s integrated library system. Seventy-seven of the 145 CARLI library directors sampled completed the web-based survey. This represented a 53.1% response rate. ^ The framework for the survey was designed around three sections; advantages, disadvantages, and obstacles to participating in I-Share. Directors were asked to select the level of importance of I-Share benefits, and their level of agreement to questions regarding the disadvantages and obstacles to participating in I-Share. These questions were based on a Likert scale and assigned numeric values. An independent samples t-test compared I-Share and non I-Share directors' responses by institution type and collectively. The difference in 11 of 12 comparisons was found to be statistically significant. ^ Through five open-ended questions, several themes were discovered. Benefits associated with resource sharing were consistently stated as being the most influential factor for I-Share member directors to participate in I-Share. Other important benefits mentioned were I-Share' s value, centralized technical support, and the opportunity to collaborate closely with other libraries. ^ With non I-Share library directors, reasons not to join I-Share differed with institution types. For some community college library directors, the decision to remain with a local, multi-type library system was based upon the needs of their student populations. Among the reasons given by non I-Share library directors from independent—not for profit institutions was the preference to manage an integrated library system “in-house”. The infrequency of I-Share open enrollment periods, and migration costs associated with unbundling records from a current ILS, were viewed by all survey respondents as being the most serious obstacles to I-Share participation. ^

Subject Area

Education, Community College|Library Science|Education, Higher

Recommended Citation

Krieb, Dennis E, "Academic library directors' perceptions of joining a large library consortium sharing an integrated library system: A descriptive survey" (2011). ETD collection for University of Nebraska - Lincoln. AAI3445417.