COLLABORATION OF SCHOOL LIBRARIES IN MUNPARLAS: BASIS FOR A CONSORTIUM PROGRAM Melquaides I. Alipo-on, MALS Library Director, Olivarez College President, MUNPARLAS Library Association, Inc. Introduction MUNPARLAS Library Association Inc. is a non-stock and non-profit Library organization in Muntinlupa, Parañaque and Las Piñas. According to Henry Ford (1947) Coming together is a beginning; keeping together is progress; working together is success.” Murray (2010) Collaboration is the act of willingness to cooperate with one another in one common goal . Collaboration must undertake the following: •well defined relationships •beneficial to all members •comprehensive planning •mutual risk •resource sharing Collaborative relationship includes: •commitment to a mission •clearly defined roles and responsibilities •shared responsibility •balanced ownership •distributed leadership •sharing of resources and rewards Factors that help collaboration: •needs and benefits •attitude •Communication •vision, mission, goals •Resources •leadership Successful collaboration requires that Library leaders understand their organizations in order to ensure a positive response from staff to the necessary organizational change Change can be implemented successfully only with significant awareness of and sensitivity to existing culture Positive attitudes toward the collaborative effort and the associated organizational change, can best be generated by beginning with a inclusive exercise to articulate vision and mission and to establish goals Library leaders must be sensitive to prevailing and evolving attitudes among library staff . One or more sessions with a credible and respected facilitator may prove necessary to develop or maintain a positive attitude among library staff. Consortium - a group of school librarians in MUNPARLAS joining and cooperating together to complete a project and working together with a contract to perform a unified goal to improve library services. Theoretical Framework: This study is anchored on the Game Theory of Von Neumann. The structure of cooperation is an important area to which game theory is applied. Hayes (2003) uses cooperative game theory to explain decisionmaking behaviors using cooperative acquisitions and cooperation in automation as examples. Bridges (2004) proposes the application of game theory to decision-making. Chua (2003) uses game theory framework to explain knowledge management and information science. Cohen (2008) look at game theory as applied to library networks. Research Paradigm INPUT •Selected School Libraries in MUNPARLAS •Library Personnel •Library Services •Library Resources •Benefits •Barriers PROCESS •Library needs •Role of MUNPARLAS Library Association •Game Theory •Phenomenological Inquiry OUTPUT Consortium Program Statement of the Problem This study aimed to collaborate with the school libraries in MUNPARLAS to come up with a functional consortium program. Specifically, this study sought to answer the following problems: 1. What is the library profile of the selected schools with respect to the following: a. personnel; b. services; and c. resources? 2. What benefits do member institutions get on this proposed consortium? 3. What are the barriers in the pursuing library consortium? 4. Based on the findings of the study, what are the policies and programs of the consortium that can be proposed? Research Design A qualitative research method would be more suitable that the participants would be able to articulate their live experiences using not only words but non-verbal expressions as well. According to Pietersen (2002) the aim of the approach is to determine what an experience means for those who have had the experience and are able to provide a comprehensive description of it. In phenomenology, a researcher looks into the participants’ various reactions to, or perceptions of, a particular phenomenon. Participants There were six school signified to participate as subjects of the study. For confidentially reasons, the subjects of the study requested the researcher to make codes instead of mentioning their institutions for ethical reasons. Data Gathering Procedure The researcher started with his conceptual framework which serves as a roadmap throughout the research journey. The most crucial part of this study was transcribing the result, the triangulation, the focus group interview, open ended questions and observation. Significant Findings In six libraries, there were 15 professional librarians working, 9 library assistants, and 5 computer technicians. Most of them worked as permanent employees. It is empirical that the MUNPARLAS Library Association Inc. school libraries are managed by professional librarians assisted by well trained library staff. The most common library services on these six libraries were Library Orientation (6), Photocopy (6), Internet Access (6), Technical Services (6), Bulletin Boards (6), Storytelling (6), Printing Services (6), Book Lovers Club (6), Current Awareness (5), Ask the Librarian (4), 24/7 Electronic Resources (4), OPAC (4), Library Instruction (3), Automated Circulation (3), WIFI Spots (3), Book Character (2), Book Parade (2), Pathfinder (1), Book Shoot (1), Book Mobile (1), and Book Talk (1). Four of these libraries were using canned library system: destiny, libro sytem, athena and follett. Most of them were subscribing to celogic electronic journals, proquest, and Britanica Online. With their existing library personnel, library services and library resources they signified to support the proposed consortium for the MUNPARLAS school libraries. Herewith were the summary of the information resources available in these six libraries: books, periodicals, non-print materials, and electronic resources. Aside from the traditional interlibrary loan, it is empirical that they wanted to build a union list of their library holdings and share expenses on their electronic subscriptions. There was corroboration between MUNPARLAS and electronic resources company to possibly join their account. It was a unanimous decision of the six libraries to acknowledge the barriers but do not dwell on them. Some of the barriers foreseen are miscommunication problems, Internet Access ID necessary in electronic resources, some customers not accepting e-journals as per the printed journals, financial, technology literacy, data conversion, routine maintenance, and reluctance to participate. MUNPARLAS Library Association Inc. member institutions expressed their willingness to support this project. They find the consortium program very beneficial. Most of these schools were subscribing to almost the same e-journals. With the consortium-based subscription to electronic resources, it provides access to wider number of electronic resources at substantially lower cost. They likewise expressed that this will optimize utilization of funds. Some schools mentioned that this will lessen their technical works and improve their library services. Conclusions This study justifies the establishment of consortium program in MUNPARLAS Library Association Inc. which automatically will bring economy, efficiency and equality in information available in the school libraries. This proposal is expected to trigger remarkable development in the school libraries in MUNPARLAS Library Association Inc. Proposed consortium would bring a special attention to its members for its systematic approach and will ensure a sustainable growth of the school libraries. This will save enormous amount of money and expedite research at all levels thereby contributing greatly in library development. Recommendations There is a need to evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of the library personnel, library services and information resources in order to formulate a functional consortium program. Aside from traditional interlibrary loan, technology services like sharing of databases and electronic resources should be given priority in the consortium program. There is a need to motivate the library personnel that the technology-driven cooperative arrangements will help lessen their professional and technical job Organize training for MUNPARLAS Library Association Inc. librarians on databases, and eresources. Instill in them that sharing resources means sharing success. The proponent of the study recommends that all of the recommendations stated will be materialized in three years time after a rigid planning. Invite school administrators to the meeting of MUNPARLAS Library Association Inc. for them to deeply understand the benefits they can get from the consortium. PROPOSED CONSORTIUM PROGRAM DEFINITION MUNPARLAS Consortium is a group of school libraries in Muntinlupa, Las Piñas and Paranaque who come together to fulfill a combined objectives that requires cooperation and sharing of resources. The consortium needs a clear mutual goal, support and commitment among member institutions in order to ensure success. SHARED VISION The vision of the MUNPARLAS Consortium is to use and to develop the best enabling technologies in a collaboration that will enhance the innovative delivery of library and information resources to the school libraries in the member institutions. OBJECTIVES • • • • • • • • To lessen subscription expenses on electronic resources; To provide a common interface with familiar functionality for the benefit of library customers; To widen the scope of electronic resources available on group subscription; To maximize the value of the intellectual investment involved in selecting and implementing the shared system and in creating and operating a management structure for the benefit of the members institutions; To create a union list of library holdings; To form a technology-driven consortium; To be an efficient instrument of resource sharing in all types of resources; and To form a strong core group to work in partnership on resource sharing and library cooperation. COLLABORATION AND TRUSTED RELATIONSHIPS While formal relationships provide a framework, they are necessary but not sufficient to fully realize the vision of the consortium. Based on this shared vision the members of the consortium have also developed effective forms of collaboration, with very significant commitment and investment of resources. Associated with this, a constellation of trusted relationships are being nurtured within the consortium, expressed in principles for relationships, and put into practice through members sharing infrastructure, sharing workload, and sharing knowledge and expertise. PRINCIPLES FOR RELATIONSHIPS The vital importance of close working relationships is also reflected in the principles agreed to create, encourage and grow relationships in the consortium. These principles are: Value the goals of its member libraries •While remaining autonomous, members will collaborate to maximize the benefits they can get from the consortium. Recognize and acknowledge common good contributions •Access to the combined resources of the consortium has benefit for all member institutions, their libraries and customers. Favor open communication, with “no surprises” on material issues •Any issues or disagreements are aired within the consortium rather than outside, to develop trust and confidence among member institutions. Treat its members as equal partners within the consortium •Characterized by democratic decision-making processes, governance and equitable cost sharing methods. Provide opportunities for shared problem solving among librarians •Conduct consultation, meetings and fora to discuss problems encountered. Foster a climate of responsible experimentation of effective library service •Encourage librarians to redefine current practices in line with changing needs and employ cooperative actions for effective and efficient service. SHARING INFRASTRUCTURE The advantages of sharing infrastructure include economic benefits. A consortium is in a stronger position than individual customers to negotiate favorable contracts with software vendors, and has a stronger voice in negotiating fixes and enhancements. Consortium hosting charges have economies of scale that are spread across all consortium members. Similarly capital costs for infrastructure growth and enhancement can be spread over time and shared by the member institutions. SHARING KNOWLEDGE AND EXPERTISE Working together is an effective way for the librarians to work, learn, and develop knowledge and expertise. They develop their working relationships with librarians of other institutions. They establish communication both formally and informally with their colleagues in other institution. SHARING WORKLOAD Working in a consortium shares the workload, as well as sharing knowledge and expertise. FUNCTIONS OF CONSORTIUM •With little initiative these can be developed into effective platforms for sharing valuable resources in school libraries •Besides resource sharing, this consortium can also take up several activities for the mutual benefit of the member institutions of MUNPARLAS Library Association Inc. INFORMATION RESOURCE SHARING FUNCTIONS A consortium can take up following activities for promoting information resource sharing: •Cooperative collection development among member institutions of MUNPARLAS Library Association Inc.; •Cooperative processing of information resources acquired through consortium; •Creation of virtual library covering all the e-resources available in member institutions of MUNPARLAS Library Association Inc.; •Compilation of bibliographical and /or full-text databases of the holdings of the member institutions of MUNPARLAS Library Association Inc.; •Sharing of information resources, both traditional and digital of member institutions of MUNPARLAS Library Association Inc. through network or document delivery service; •Allowing reciprocal borrowing of resources by the member institutions of MUNPARLAS Library Association Inc.; •Pooling of expert manpower and promoting professional development; •Assist member institutions of MUNPARLAS Library Association Inc. in creating IT infrastructure; Madamu gid nga Salamat!