Collaborative Librarianship, Vol 2, No 4 (2010)

Nontraditional Partnerships in Pursuit of the “Information Infrastructure”

Jason Kramer

Abstract


The New York State Higher Education Initiative (NYSHEI) represents the public and private academic and research libraries of New York, and differs from other state-based academic library organizations in both its size and mission. NYSHEI holds about 150 member institutions, including all 87 of the state’s public colleges and universities, and nine ARL members. Founded in 2002, NYSHEI evolved into its current form in 2007 by adopting a focus on political advocacy. NYSHEI applies its diverse collection of collaborating libraries toward achieving a statewide “information infrastructure” that supports not just the academic enterprise, but all research, innovation, and entrepreneurialism in New York. An important lesson learned during the formative phase of NYSHEI is that collaboration as a strategic value can be fairly meaningless. Rightly understood, collaboration is a tactic that helps two or more parties attain separate but shared aims. As such, NYSHEI approaches information resources as a required utility for the modern era, and actively works with partners in the business community, state government, and health care fields to promote widespread access to information resources.

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