Monday, October 25, 2010

Theological Libraries Month: Christian Consortia

This month I have written about our association with the ATLA. As a library serving a Christian university, we also fit neatly in the company of the Association of Christian Librarians (ACL) and the Christian Library Consortium (CLC). These associations often provide the power in numbers needed to make our voices heard.

For example, in the area of eBooks, packages of titles are often sold to libraries based on a general profile of similar library types. Historically, these packages have not included scholarly works in Christian evangelical subject areas. They focus on liberal arts, business, and other disciplines that are taught at a greater number of institutions. Christian higher education is a much smaller niche and less lucrative for publisher and content providers.

The typical faith-based academic library is comparatively small, many with one (or even less!) full-time librarian providing all library services for an institution. If this librarian also just happens to possess negotiation skills, they most likely don’t have the time to spend explaining their needs with each competing vendor individually. And vendors don’t tend to invest a lot of time on a small account.

A couple of weeks ago, Terri wrote about our NetLibrary Religious and Theological Collection. It is because of our membership in the CLC that, collectively, we have been able to purchase affordable relevant eBook collections like this arranged by the ACL for Christian institutions like ours with relatively little effort and cost to us.

It is another way that we work together with other libraries, pooling our resources to achieve a common goal.

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