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The Derby Public Library has been one of the most active in the new KanShare Libraries program since the full membership launch in March 2020.

A year and a half ago, the Derby Public Library partnered with Andover and Park City to start a new consortium – KanShare Libraries – to share resources between entities to the benefit of all members of participating communities.

“We can request books, but it’s a little bit longer, drawn out process that takes a lot of extra steps,” said DPL Director Eric Gustafson. “This allows patrons to directly request books from all the other libraries we share at. They get shipped on the courier, there’s minimal paperwork and it really moves items very efficiently. It also maximizes resources.”

Now, the KanShare Libraries are coming up on the one-year anniversary of project completion – with Rose Hill, Mulvane, Goddard, El Dorado and Augusta all being added to the consortium by March 2020.

Through the KanShare Libraries program, a library card at any of the member institutions grants access to the full catalog at each building – with items available to be checked out or returned at any of the libraries.

For example, Gustafson noted a smaller library may have one copy of a current best seller. That book may be checked out by three different people and then sit on the shelf unused until the next person checks it out. However, through KanShare Libraries, that item could be placed on hold for patrons in Derby who also want the chance to read it – keeping it in circulation due to demand through a broader network.

“Sharing makes it faster for everyone to get everything. Nothing is idle in a system like this. If there’s a really popular book, everything is moving constantly,” Gustafson said.

Being the largest library in the consortium, Derby has been one of the busiest in all aspects. Gustafson reported to the city council at its Feb. 9 meeting that DPL loaned out 11,000 items through 2020 and borrowed 15,000. Ideally, though, Gustafson said the program will be of equal benefit to all member libraries – with a greater breadth of resources (where larger libraries often have an advantage).

While the KanShare Libraries consortium is not unique, with a few similar programs existing across the state, Gustafson has been pleased to see it getting good use from Derby patrons so far. Resource sharing has always been the goal and there has been plenty of that going on in the first year, with Gustafson – who has been roped into some courier work as well – stating that it has been working better than even he expected.

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