TexShare Statewide Resource Sharing Summit
February 27-28, 2008
June 24, 2008
Purpose of the Summit
This summit was convened to bring together representatives of the different stakeholder groups to:
- Discuss the future of TexShare
- Assess current programs
- Identify possible future directions and propose ideas for new programs
- Develop strategies to plan for the future of resource sharing in Texas
Peggy Rudd, Director and Librarian, Texas State Library and Archives Commission, opened the one and a half day meeting with a brief report on the progress made on major recommendations form the last summit. Appendix A, Update of Statewide Resource Sharing Talking Points summarizes this progress.
Current Strengths of TexShare
Maureen Sullivan, facilitator, began the discussion by asking the participants to identify the current strengths of TexShare. Highlights of this discussion include:
A Strong Core Set of Resources for the People of Texas
- TexShare empowers the people of Texas and provides them with a set of standard tools.
- It provides a more equal playing field – the same resources are available throughout the state. It narrows the gap between rich and poor and between the large and small school districts. It enables smaller libraries to share with larger institutions.
- It offers an alternative to Google - the information is accurate and libraries can keep up with the internet. It enables digital access for all and offers 24/7 access in the home.
- TexShare provides continuity for the end user across all types of libraries and during all stages of his/her library use.
TexShare standardizes the experience for all age groups. People grow up with TexShare. There is a continuity of experience for students and it prepares students to be effective users.
Libraries Working Together and with Partners
- It enables collaboration among a variety of libraries. It brings resources to the foreground and broadens the audience for information and resources.
- It has created opportunities for museums and libraries to work together.
- It is the best library product in Texas now. It also has the potential to grow new programs, with TexShare as the foundation for these new programs.
- The courier service expands the quantity and types of materials that are circulated. The turnaround time for Interlibrary Loan (ILL) service is quick.
- The medical community uses the databases. Nurses have access to library materials from their desktop and do not have to be in a library.
- TexShare enables political leaders to reevaluate the importance of libraries and to better understand how libraries make a difference in the lives of the people of Texas.
Discussion of Membership Expansion
Participants then met in small groups to discuss how to proceed to expand the membership of TexShare. The suggestions that emerged can be applied to an action plan that would involve the following steps:
- Set Goals for Membership Expansion
- Plan for Membership Expansion
- Build an infrastructure to Enable Membership Expansion
- Define the goal for membership expansion at the highest level, i.e., to seek to include every entity that is engaged in promoting literacy, education and access to resources.
- Identify groups that currently are not fully involved and include them in the planning (e.g., university health sciences libraries, government agencies, for-profit organizations, K-12 schools, Private K-12 schools, home schools, other educational institutions, museums, home owners associations, etc,).
- Identify and address the obstacles to access that exist (e.g., non-students who are not able to directly access resources on a campus). This would include identification and changes to any policies that hamper participation in TexShare.
- Explore opportunities for collaboration with other state agencies.
- See the value of a literacy czar.
- Consider letting TexShare define its own members.
- Change the infrastructure within TSLAC to support the flexibility needed for expansion.
- Market TexShare to non-members.
- Explore the feasibility and desirability of corporate support. Consider selling TexShare to for-profit libraries. Corporate libraries could subsidize the smaller libraries’ fees.
- Explore how can corporations give back and assume responsibility for the benefits they receive from library-educated employees.
- Create a more powerful interface to enable federated searching that is customized and tailored to different levels of users.
- Extend access to patients and their families; to health-care workers; and to social service agencies. Establish “point-of-care” access and provide immediate information at the hospital and in the doctor’s office.
- Focus on the following categories for membership expansion: military, prisons, government, schools, and corporations.
Suggestions for Database Content in the Future
Participants were asked to identify additions to the database content, to discuss ways to provide access to the content, and to recommend changes in the scope of the database program. The following suggestions were made:
- Expand the availability of legal resources.
- Develop and promote local content.
- Find appropriate databases for specific libraries.
- Consolidate open source resources in a central location. Create a clearinghouse.
- Create a customizable and consistent search interface.
- Enable a personalized search interface, the sharing of custom settings with other interested users (i.e. Vivisimo)
Standardize downloading practices.
- Include virtual reference service to enable after-hours access.
- Keep up with changing formats.
- Expand the scope to include alternative media sources.
The Future of Materials Delivery and ILL
Participants were invited to imagine the optimal materials delivery/ILL service and to identify the desired components of such a service. They were encouraged to think from the perspective of the end user.
- Offer patrons personal online storage space. Enable personalized TexShare profiles, e.g.,“MyTexShare.” All personal information (preferred content) would be in one location for easy access.
- Maintain a connection between the user and his or her home library.
- Upgrade to expedited shipping services to increase the speed of delivery.
- Create a means to bypass staff in making requests for materials. This would require standards for integrated library systems to ensure effective customer experience.
Beverley Shirley, TSLAC Library Resource Sharing Director, provided a summary of the Texas Interlibrary Loan and Resource Sharing Study Final Report. Summit participants offered the following suggestions, questions and comments:
Encourage Libraries to Actively Participate in ILL
- There is a need for unanimous cooperation by all libraries.
- Articulate the benefits of a statewide program to libraries.
Will statewide ILL program include all types of libraries (especially public libraries)?
Develop a Support Structure to Enable Library Participation in ILL
- Perform ongoing scanning and harvesting of individual library catalogs.
- Establish a grant program at the state level to subsidize smaller libraries becoming equipped with OCLC.
- Enable retrospective conversion of smaller library catalogs into OCLC.
- Create a means for sharing professional services of librarians to train staff in smaller libraries. This could be an “adopt-a-library” program.
Should there be a tiered system of participation?
Leverage Existing Systems
- Adopt the National Library of Medicine Lonesome Doc model.
- Use the OCLC union list as a model.
Consider time and effort in incorporating smaller library collections in a universal catalog.
Create New Systems
- Create a universal standard (i.e., a virtual union catalog) as an alternative to existing standards (OCLC).
Expedite workflow by developing a statewide ILL system for Texas as an alternative to existing models.
- There is a need for discussion of CCC (high costs, need for statewide model).
- Expanding the TexShare membership to increase overall revenue.
- Focus on “empowering” people rather than “serving” people.
Possible Future TexShare Programs
Participants identified these possibilities for new TexShare programs and initiatives:
Survey TexShare constituents to determine their needs.
Databases & Collective Purchasing
- Provide full database access for K-12.
- Expand databases for specialized programs such as science and technology.
- Develop strategies for database purchasing.
- Expand the scope of online resources (e-books, audio, video, foreign language materials).
- Create in-house databases.
- Determine what materials are most relevant to users (e.g., test preparation for students, plagiarism software, etc.) and provide them.
Establish a clearinghouse for brokering statewide contracts and increasing our collective buying power.
Share professional expertise through regional library centers and the 20 regional centers.
- Use the market positioning approach used by pharmaceutical companies as a model for TexShare.
Offer premiere searching (similar to the American Express platinum card model); define content in the context of the end user. (Note: this system is already in place, it just needs to be marketed properly).
- Restructure fees and expand membership for the courier service.
- Enrich ILL and federated searching.
Increase the availability of full-text articles available for delivery to the home/desktop.
- Achieve autonomy to define the TexShare membership.
Develop a plan for staggered incorporation of museums, local historical societies, etc.
- Enable TexShare to enter the global information environment through OCLC.
- Use the TexShare web site to enable personal TexShare webspace. Create a one-stop, customized page to facilitate all TexShare functions.
- Subsidize the costs of e-books through consolidation and establishment of universal standards for the digital delivery of content.
- Aggregate to create a depository of library materials.
At the close of the summit participants were invited to engage in a multi-voting activity to help identify a smaller, more focused set of future initiatives. The items that received the most number of points were:
- Provide database access for K-12 (31 votes)
- Develop different purchasing strategies (24 votes)
- Develop a plan for marketing and branding TexShare; create the personal/customizable web space (23 votes)
- Look at the Library of Texas to enrich ILL and provide federated searching (16 votes)
- Enable increased access at home (15 votes)
- Create a plan for membership expansion (14 votes)
Success Criteria for Follow Up to the Summit
Participants also were asked to suggest criteria for success for the follow up work from the summit:
- A task force is created to identify a process for follow up and to make recommendations for action.
- The survey of TexShare constituents to determine their needs is conducted and we have the results to use for strategic planning in our individual entities.
- There is a full-scale outcomes assessment program to enable us to get a more complete picture from users. This program includes collection of both “before” and “after” data from the various projects to use for future planning.
- There is public visibility outside of the library community, e.g., public radio underwriting.
- The issue as to whether TexShare in its current incarnation should be marketed as a brand or whether it should be redeveloped and presented as a more appealing brand to the public is addressed.
- More resources are put in the databases.
- A task force is created for ILL projects.
- Progress is made in our collaborative buying power.
- We are able to present the results to the legislature as a return on investment.
Next Steps and Recommendations
1. Establish a task force to review the work accomplished during the summit, discuss and evaluate the recommendations and develop a plan for the next two years. Select the members of this task force from among the participants in the summit. Be sure to include partners, such as TLA. This task force should be a subcommittee of the TexShare Advisory Board.
2. Develop a public relations plan to achieve public visibility outside of the library community. Address whether TexShare in its current incarnation should be marketed as a brand or should be redeveloped and presented as a more appealing brand to the public. Consider as a possible slogan or motto: “Stakeholders as steward for the provision of information resources.”
3. Conduct a survey of customer attitudes and present the results to the legislature. The survey process should be designed to learn:
- What do librarians already know about their user communities?
- What are the attitudes and perceptions of non-users?
- What do patrons want in more efficient collection strategies?
- What is the state of increasing availability of internet resources and connectivity?
- What percentage of Texans has broadband access?
Note: This survey could be done in partnership with other interested agencies such as the Texas Library Association.
4. Communicate the results of this survey to enable use of the results in strategic planning throughout libraries in Texas.
5. Review the outcomes-based assessment program to identify ways to strengthen it to ensure that a full scale and effective program exists to support continuous improvement of TexShare.
6. In partnership with the Texas Library Association, hold a series of mini-summits to craft an approach for future local legislative action.
7. Immediately pursue the proposed membership regulation change. Draft a document to provide flexibility in TexShare participation.
8. Meet with the regional library systems to discuss their needs and plans.
9. Set a statewide standard for connectivity.
10. Identify what additional resources need to be added to the databases and develop a plan for adding them. Focus first on those resources that will reflect the benefits of the collaborative buying power.
11. Hold the summit more frequently -- at least every two years or annually, if possible.