Cooperative Collection Development

The 1976 Cooperative Collection Development Project examined the interlibrary loan needs of ILLINET users. The project was intended to identify the “unmet needs” and shortcomings of ILLINET, as well as identify “cooperation and coordination among the components [of ILLINET] to meet the needs of citizens who utilize the network.” The result of the project was a 45-page document, Toward Cooperative Collection Development in the Illinois Library and Information Network, which was released in January 1977.777

The document urged libraries to steer away from traditional acquisition policies and move to a “useroriented” approach to development. Cooperative collection development from multiple libraries was the key. “It is no longer possible for any library/information center to provide information and resources to meet all of the potential demands of its clientele,” stated the report. “The best approach for libraries today is to provide those items which are most frequently in demand by their primary clientele and to provide access to other resources or information which cannot be provided on site.”778

The interior of the River Bend Library System headquarters in 1970.

The interior of the River Bend Library System headquarters in 1970.

At the local level, materials were selected based on user demand. “Standards of quality or literary merit should not be imposed,” the report asserted. “The simple fact that the user desires the material should be sufficient…to be considered for purchase.” Cooperative collection development among the library systems was also determined by user demand. Some systems had already created special collections, such as genealogy in the Shawnee Library System (see Appendix A) and law enforcement materials in the Lewis and Clark Library System (see Appendix B). Systems facilitated discussions among member libraries on collection development and funding. Four systems established pilot studies of member libraries, and in 1978, the Suburban Library System became the first in Illinois to adopt an on-demand acquisition plan.779

The practice of coordinated cooperative collection development was further analyzed in a research study sponsored by the Illinois Valley Library System in 1980. In 1983, that system produced a federally funded, three-volume how-to manual on CCCD. Next was a federally funded 1985 evaluation, which recommended that the State Library hire a full-time CCCD consultant, and that the 1983 manuals be expanded to include intersystem and statewide CCCD.780

For decades, Illinois libraries had ignored coopera- tion in the development of resource holdings, a point noted as early as 1963 by Robert Rohlf. Now, library collections in Illinois were being built cooperatively, spurred by accessibility to system resources. The cooperative collection development plan was one of the many positive effects of ILLINET on Illinois library users.

The TWX teletype machine used by the River Bend Library System.

The TWX teletype machine used by the River Bend Library System.

The State Library also built special collections of its own. Amidst the battle over the Equal Rights Amendment, the library began a collection of materials on women’s issues in 1972. Called the Womensfile, the collection was described as “an untidy, inelegant, but richly endowed eight drawer file cabinet of uncatalogued material” relating to issues facing women. A similar endeavor was On Women, a monthly bibliography published by the State Library that listed recently received books of special interest to women. The women’s holdings were heavily used by Illinois legislators and government employees.781

In addition, the library continued to build its impressive collection of maps. The 1963 designation as a federal depository had accelerated the flow of maps into the library, which soon took up a great deal of available space. The library implemented a massive mapcataloging project on Aug. 1, 1980. Eventually, the Illinois State Library would be second only to the New York State Library in the number of maps held by state libraries nationwide.782