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Culture, politics and university library consortia in China and the US : A comparative introduction to CALIS, GWLA and JULAC

D. E. Perushek (International and Exchange Programs, University of Hawaii at Manoa, Honolulu, Hawaii, USA)
Anne Douglas (Independent scholar, Melbourne, Australia)

Library Management

ISSN: 0143-5124

Article publication date: 10 November 2014

Abstract

Purpose

Using three university library consortia China Academic Library and Information System (CALIS) (China), Greater Western Library Alliance (GWLA) (USA) and Joint University Librarians Advisory Committee (JULAC) (Hong Kong) as examples, the purpose of this paper is to compare the administration of three university consortia and to explore the cultural, educational and geopolitical forces that produce and shape university library consortia.

Design/methodology/approach

The methodology used reviewed published and proprietary documents, interviews and observation.

Findings

While the stated objectives are similar, the three vary markedly in size, funding source, and whether programming is a bottom-up decision or emanates from the central government. CALIS was started by China ' s Ministry of Education, who also helps in setting programmatic agendas and appointing managers; GWLA came into existence through the efforts of a small group of university librarians, elect their own board and set programming in response to member needs and suggestions; JULAC, initiated by the university librarians in Hong Kong has some support from the government through bodies charged with the oversight of the universities. The differing educational systems also influence programming, for example in the relative importance member libraries place on preferential inter-library loan.

Originality/value

There are few comparative studies of library consortia found in Asia and the US comparative studies of consortia encourage an understanding of the benefits of different consortia models.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

The authors wish to thank the staff and directors of CALIS, JULAC and GWLA who so generously gave us their time, information and opinions. The authors also thank the Fulbright Commission for supporting the research of D.E. Perushek through a Fulbright Senior Fellow grant 2011-12.

Citation

Perushek, D.E. and Douglas, A. (2014), "Culture, politics and university library consortia in China and the US : A comparative introduction to CALIS, GWLA and JULAC", Library Management, Vol. 35 No. 8/9, pp. 594-606. https://doi.org/10.1108/LM-03-2014-0039

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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