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Frequently Asked Questions - Consortium Management
A consortium is a collective group of libraries that can accomplish more together than they could do on their own. The consortium membership can encompass libraries of a single type or of different types and sizes, and the consortium may be local, regional or national in scope.
The benefits the consortium provides will depend upon the specific programs and services that the consortium chooses to offer. Typical benefits include:
- Reducing in costs through group purchasing (e.g., of electronic resources)
- Increasing the ability through collaboration to advocate for the needs of libraries
- Improving the capacity and expertise of the members by providing professional development programs for library staff
- Encouraging the sharing of resources among members (including content, technology, expertise, and funding)
- Creating opportunities for joint advocacy, marketing, and fundraising for libraries
- Undertaking special initiatives of importance to the group, such as digitization, technology implementation, information sharing, or creation of a union catalog
The members of a consortium are libraries as organizations. The members of library associations in most country are individual library staff members.
EIFL is a global network of sustainable national library consortia. We are a network of consortia to be sustainable organization that can accommodate the needs of many countries, to encourage consortial developments within our countries, and to build a powerful community that can interact effectively.
Through this network of consortia we can enable members to: lower the financial barriers and increasing the access to electronic information; enhance the professional growth of our members; increase the capacity of members to employ technology effectively; expand member knowledge about emerging trends in information and technology; accelerate the ability of members to advocate for effective intellectual property laws, and lower the financial barriers.
Ordinarily, there may only be one member consortium per country. Within the country, however, there may be multiple consortia that come together under an umbrella country consortium.
EIFL has developed a consortium road map that provides guidance and resources from the planning stage to managing and sustaining a successful consortium. You can see the planning stage portion of the roadmap here. We will work with you to implement the other steps of consortium development after you join EIFL.
EIFL’s strengthens libraries through the power of collaboration. We promote sustainable access and exchange of knowledge through global leadership of libraries to improve the development of society and the economy in developing and transition countries.
The benefits of joining EIFL are:
- Access to a wide range of commercial e-resources at a greatly reduced, and in some cases no, cost.
- Eligibility for grant opportunities to support the development of library services.
- Free consortia website hosting.
- Invitation to attend the EIFL General Assembly, an annual learning and knowledge sharing event.
- Gain expertise in creating and managing an effective and sustainable library consortium.
- Training, consultation, and participation in important library areas including e-resource negotiations and licensing, open access, copyright, and open source tools.
- Enhance your professional knowledge and share best practices about emerging trends in information policy and technology
- Become an effective advocate for libraries and benefit from opportunities to participate internationally in policy making.
- Gain access to up-to-date information and specialized resources via EIFL’s mailing lists and members only website.
- Raise your institution’s visibility by becoming part of a global network.
Members pay an annual fee to support the work of and partake in the programs and services of EIFL. This fee is calculated according to three main factors: GDP (Gross Domestic Product), GNI (Gross National Income) and the Education Index. There is a minimal annual participation fee of €378 and a maximum of €5411.
Yes. If a group of libraries is in the process of forming of a consortium and is seeking EIFL’s assistance, that country provisionally can become a member prior to the establishment of the consortium. This entails a mutual commitment that EIFL will provide all member services as are available to regular members, and the consortium will demonstrate by the end of the year significant progress to establish an operational consortium.
No. Unfortunately we do not have the capacity to accommodate individual library memberships. If a library is interested in EIFL, we encourage you to contact us so that we can discuss why you are interested in joining EIFL and how we might be able to help.
It is the responsibility of the library community in the country to identify sources of funding to cover the cost of initial and ongoing activities to manage the consortium. EIFL can help you identify ways to do this. For example, the demonstrable savings that your country can achieve through resource sharing and consortium licensing should convince funding agencies (usually a ministry).
In many EIFL countries, the member consortia and their libraries redistribute their costs through equitable cost sharing models. In some cases, international agencies are willing to give a grant for the start-up of a library consortium. EIFL provides member consortia with access to a proposal template and a tip sheet on applying for funding for consortium activities.