Two vast and disparate library networks — one academic and one public — have begun a collaboration in Ohio that will greatly expand offerings for both systems’ patrons.
OhioLINK, a consortium of 89 college and university libraries and the state library, and SearchOhio, a network of 19 public library systems, linked up their collections in November.
“This program is a win-win situation for the citizens of Ohio,” said Stacy Brannan, a marketing and communication coordinator for OhioLINK. “Now, two million SearchOhio patrons from 19 public library systems can access books about academic subjects that may interest them, and OhioLINK’s 600,000 students, faculty and staff can request fiction and other popular titles that make up public library collections,” she said.
For OhioLINK members, such as Ohio State University, the collaboration will provide access to an additional 9.5 million popular books, DVDs and CDs. SearchOhio patrons will gain access to nearly 50 million books and other materials via OhioLINK
“Ohio’s libraries have always explored ways to share resources, expand access and better serve our constituents,” Sari Feldman, executive director of Cuyahoga County Public Library, told HillcrestPatch.com. “But this collaboration between OhioLINK and SearchOhio is especially exciting because it gives Ohioans unprecedented access to millions of additional materials.”
The collaboration only became technically feasible in April, Brannan said, and the two systems agreed that now was a good time to go ahead with the program since it could be implemented without either system losing any of their own functionality.
“OhioLINK has always intended to expand resource sharing to as many of Ohio’s citizens as possible,” Brannan said. “We hope to provide access to additional public libraries as technology improves that makes it easier to link disparate systems together,” she said.
CLEVNET, a consortium of 37 library systems across 10 different counties in northeast Ohio, is not yet a part of the collaboration.
The library systems in SearchOhio include Akron-Summit County Public Library, Cuyahoga County Public Library, Cuyahoga Falls Library, Delaware County District Library, Greene County Public Library, Kent Free Library, Louisville Public Library, Mansfield/Richland County Public Library, Massillon Public Library, Mentor Public Library, Portage County Public Library, Reed Memorial Public Library, Rodman Public Library, Stark County Public Library, Toledo-Lucas County Public Library, Wadsworth Public Library, Warren-Trumbull County Public Library, Westerville Public Library and Youngstown Public Library.