Imagine sharing your resources in a consortium environment where you keep your own circulation rules, policies, etc. In other words, you retain your autonomy. FlexShare™ lets you do just that at no additional cost. You can create a “bottom-up” or “ad hoc” consortium consisting of the libraries you and your library partners choose.
And better yet, you retain direct access to Biblionix and the best product and support in the industry. There is no need for anyone at the libraries to manage support and software issues. And even if you don’t have a formal sharing arrangement with another library, you can still allow your patrons to search its collection and place requests.
This unique “best of both worlds” solution piqued the interest of Marshall Breeding, such that he devoted the feature article of Smart Libraries Newsletter to it. It’s the July 2018 issue and it is now available to non-subscribers. To summarize Mr. Breeding’s sentiments: “…libraries share their collections with selected library partners without the overhead and complications associated with prevailing models of consortial infrastructure.“
There are two underlying pieces to FlexShare: Discovery and Sharing.
- Provides discovery capabilities at your choice of other libraries
- Patrons choose when and what to search
- Compatible with any Apollo or Z39.50-enabled library
- Can be used without sharing.
VersaCard® Ad Hoc Sharing
- Every participating library retains its autonomy. Its policies and configuration are unaffected (like circulation rules, material types, patron types).
- Access to personal information is limited. For example: library A has no access to the personal information of patrons of other libraries unless and until the patron borrows from Library A. Even then, options are available regarding the degree of personal information that is shared.
- Libraries can enter and exit the consortium at will.
- There is no charge for participating, for entering, or for exiting.
- Entering and exiting a FlexShare consortium does not change a library’s data in any way.
- Every participating library retains its own relationship with Biblionix; it is not subverted to a consortial authority. As with any stand-alone library arrangement:
- Customer support is provided directly to the library.
- Option choices are made solely by the individual library.
- Billing continues to be dedicated to each library.
- Circulation rules can be set to govern lending to FlexShare patrons. These rules are distinct from lending rules for a library’s own patrons.
- Patrons can checkout items from other participating libraries using only their home library card. Only 1 account exists for each patron.
- Patrons who are blocked at any library are blocked at all libraries.
- Any Apollo ILS customer can cancel its service at any time and receive a pro-rated refund.
- Every Apollo ILS customer can participate.
- Based on the NCIP standard.
Please note: since Mr. Breeding’s FlexShare/VersaCard article was published in July of 2018. , we have made FlexShare even better with enhancements like transit optimization and other tools to give each library more power for managing cross-library lending/reserving. Plus it has actually always included fulfillment management.
"You have got to be the most helpful company we have ever dealt with."
Marcia Johnson, Director
Miami Public Library