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Hesburgh Libraries announces partnership with St. Joseph County Library

| Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Saint Joseph County Public Libraries (SJCPL) and Hesburgh Libraries have formed a partnership that will allow Notre Dame students, faculty and staff to access public library materials.

Lisa O’Brien, circulation manager for SJCPL, said the county’s public library patrons can place holds on materials for pick up at Hesburgh Library, and they can return most SJCPL materials to Hesburgh.

Libraries_WEBLauren Weldon | The Observer

“The partnership is mutually beneficial,” O’Brien said. “Hesburgh needed a way for their patrons to access popular materials and SJCPL needed to increase usage by residents affiliated with Notre Dame, a service area that according to our data had very low library usage.”

O’Brein said she thinks the partnership is a great example of how libraries can work together to be more effective.

“By partnering, we have found a way to meet the needs of our patrons while minimizing costs,” she said. “Because of limited resources, libraries should consider partnerships as an appealing option for sustaining and expanding libraries services.”

Tracey Morton, manager of Frontline Services for Hesburgh Libraries, said as a residential campus, it is not easy for a busy student to get to the downtown library to pick up and return materials.

“After reading about the many projects Notre Dame has successfully worked and partnered on with the city of South Bend, it inspired me to approach the library senior leadership with the idea, and I was given leave to approach my former co-workers at SJCPL to see if there was an interest and if so, what would that service look like,” Morton said.

According to Morton, Hesburgh librarians were investigating a way to provide the leisure reading materials for which students were asking.

“SJCPL already provided the service our students were asking for, so why try and recreate it on campus?” Morton said. “Not only do they have popular fiction books, they have popular DVD’s, music and e-books.”

She said the issue was figuring out how to help with access to the SJCPL collection.

“We can issue or renew SJCPL library cards, as well as check in and check out SJCPL materials,” Morton said.

Morton said discussions for the partnership began in May 2015 and the service launched in September 2015.

“Right now, such a partnership between a public library and private academic library is unique,” Morton said.

Morton said Hesburgh Libraries’ focus is providing excellent customer service to the community and continuing to become a premier research university.

“Hopefully in the future we can have a limited browseable physical collection located in the Hesburgh Library,” Morton said.

O’Brien said she hopes Notre Dame students, faculty and staff continue taking advantage of the service.

“I also hope that we can find more ways to partner with Notre Dame or perhaps offer more library services to ND users,” O’Brien said. “In addition to offering this convenient service, we have many online resources that might be useful to ND users. For example, we have popular titles available for download as e-books and e-audiobooks on our website.”

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