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ALA Library Fact Sheet Number 20
Joint use libraries, also known as combined libraries, dual use libraries, integrated libraries, co-managed libraries, or cooperative libraries, are a special form of library cooperation. Joint-use libraries are those where two separate library service providers use the same building to serve distinct clienteles. Such libraries are most often public libraries combined with school library media centers or public libraries combined with academic libraries, but other types exist.
What's in this guide?
This guide began over a decade ago as the answer to the question, "Where can I learn about joint-use libraries?" and as such continues to be largely selected lists of articles, books, and web sites covering the subject of combined and joint-use libraries. The references to general discussions, as well as those for the two most common types of combined libraries, public libraries combined with school libraries and public libraries combined with academic libraries, are on the other tabs, without links to online articles.
For citations prior to 1998, please contact us; or see Rashelle Schlessinger Karp's "The literature of joint-use libraries." In Advances In Library Administration & Organization, V14, 1996 (January 1996): 227-71. The Georgia Public Library Service also compiled a bibliography of materials in its collection in 2007.
General resources and checklists
The most common reason librarians (or trustees of libraries) contact us is for information as background for a discussion on whether to pursue a joint-use model locally. Some of the basic resources for this purpose are these:
Joint Libraries: Models That Work by
Publication Date: 2012
Written by three librarians who helped establish a joint-use college/public library. Offers insights to evaluate when and where a joint library is suitable.
Public Libraries, Archives and Museums: Trends in Collaboration and Cooperation by
Publication Date: 2008
This report, published by IFLA, examines the recent trends in collaboration and cooperation between public libraries, archives and museums. In many cases, the shared or similar missions of the institutions reviewed make them ideal partners in collaborative ventures. Full text PDF online.
Case Studies of Joint Use Facilities
From New Schools Better Neighborhoods, examples of joint-use projects combining K-12 schools with other facilities, including public libraries.
Decision Guide (Iowa)
Dixon, Sandy. Is a Combined School/Public Library Right for Your Community? A Guide for Decision Makers. Des Moines, IA: State Library of Iowa, 2006. (PDF)
Decision Guide (Wisconsin)
Wisconsin. Department of Public Instruction, Division for Libraries, Technology, and Community Learning. Combined School and Public Libraries: Guidelines for Decision Making. 2nd ed. Madison, Wis: The Division, 1998. (PDF)
Joint-Use Libraries: An Annotated Bibliography
Overview of Joint-Use Libraries, by Cheryl Hoover, published in the Idaho Librarian, November 2012.
Library Trends issue on Dual-Use Libraries
The entire Spring 2006 issue of Library Trends (Vol. 54, No. 4) featured the theme, "Dual-Use Libraries." Sarah McNicol served as issue editor:
School/Public Library Cooperative Programs
Examples of past successful partnerships between school & public libraries, collected by the AASL/ALSC/YALSA Interdivisional Committee on School/Public Library Cooperation. Organized by categories, such as book discussion books, library card sign up programs, community reading projects -- and cautionary tales.