Types of
Shared Print Programs

Trust underpins all shared print efforts, trust in the fact that member libraries who commit to retain materials will continue to do so and trust in the ability for their users to continue to access content even if they decide to no longer keep copies locally. For some shared print programs that trust is built on a tradition of collaboration, as part of an established library consortium. For others trust is developed organically over time with the formation of a shared print program by like minded libraries that want to protect content to ensure it remains accessible and to facilitate local withdrawals.  

Shared print as part of an existing consortium 

Shared print programs, such as the Big Ten Academic Alliance Shared Print Repository, that are formed in the context of an existing consortium benefit from a shared history of collaboration and trust. These programs also benefit from being part of pre-existing administrative and governance structures and are able to utilize existing consortial resources such as staff and communication tools. 

Some programs have a consortium act as the administrative host, but membership in that consortium is not a requirement to join the shared print program. Such programs centrally agree on a case for a program, often championed by specific individuals and grant projects, establish the program with founding members, and then solicit interest from additional libraries in their region, building upon various regional affiliations. Two different examples of this approach are the Statewide California Electronic Library Consortium (SCELC) and Eastern Academic Scholars’ Trust (EAST) shared print programs. SCELC’s shared print program, while managed centrally as a SCELC program, has opened its membership to non-consortial members, which has allowed SCELC to grow beyond its membership base. 

EAST is managed as an independent project of the Boston Library Consortium and staffed by a mixture of BLC staff and independent consultants. Additionally, as the name suggests, EAST started off in the Northeast, but has since expanded beyond that region to stretch from Maine to Florida and as far west as Tennessee. EAST has also started to bring on board consortial members, with members of the University System of Maryland & Affiliated Institutions (USMAI) consortium joining EAST in 2020. 

The ALI-PALNI Shared Print Program in Indiana is an example of two consortiums coming together to form a shared print program, with PALNI serving as the fiscal agent. 

Independent shared print programs

The Central Iowa – Collaborative Collections Initiative (CI-CII) and Maine Shared Collections Cooperative (MSCC) are both examples of shared print programs whose members, while having a history of collaboration, formed their programs organically, independent of an existing consortium. Neither program has membership fees, with members instead covering the costs of collection analysis projects. In an effort to ensure its sustainability, MSCC, with the support of the University of Maine, has a dedicated program manager to oversee its operations, including member outreach. 


On occasion shared print programs come together into federations to work on mutual goals.  Three federations of Shared Print programs exist in North America. The Rosemont Shared Print Alliance focuses their work on serials and journals and is comprised of six shared print programs (BTAA, CRL, EAST, FLARE, Scholars Trust and WEST). The Partnership for Shared Book Collections is focused on monographs, and has 17 members programs. CRL and EAST belong to both of these federations. The CDL, CRL & HathiTrust Shared Print Collaboration is committed to shared print’s integration into the scholarly ecosystem by developing shared, interoperable infrastructure (vision and mission).

Last Updated December 2021