Web Magazine for Information Professionals

Public Libraries Corner: MODELS 5 Workshop Report and Futures

Sarah Ormes gives a report on the recent MODELS 5 workshop and its outcomes.

For a description of the MODELS programme and its aims see Rosemary Russell’s article in Ariadne [1]. As Rosemary explains this was the final workshop in the MODELS programme and was entitled ‘Managing Access to a Distributed Library Resource’. The workshop had a strong public library focus.

Background to Models 5

This workshop was in response to the recommendations for increased resource sharing between libraries that have been emerging from a range of sources. These sources included the ASLIB Review of public libraries [2] the APT Review of cooperation [3] and the Anderson Report [4]. However, despite this need for greater resource sharing the majority of local library management systems currently in use do not interoperate, so resources are fragmented making unified distributed access difficult if not impossible. The situation is complicated by organisational and business issues.

The aim of the workshop was to explore motivations for resource sharing, examine some current initiatives and develop a systems framework which will improve access and support more effective management of resource sharing. The workshop focused on public library developments and the possibilities for cross-sectoral cooperation, particularly with academic libraries, were also explored.

The workshop

The workshop was attended by over 40 invited representatives of the public library, academic and library and information research community. The workshop was chaired by Richard Heseltine, Librarian of Hull University.

The first day of the workshop consisted of a number of presentations about the importance of and the current state of resource sharing in the library community.

Some of the presentations given were

These presentations were followed by breakout sessions where workshop participants identified the main issues that need to be addressed before easy access to a distributed library resource can take place. Each group then reported back to the workshop as a whole.

On the following day these issues were consolidated and inhibitors to a distributed library resource were identified. A possible systems architecture [8] and its requirements for a distributed library resource to come into existence was then devised by Fretwell Downing. The workshop as a whole then identified a number of actions, recommendations and policy statements which would move library services closer to a distributed model. These ‘outcomes’ are listed below.




MODELS recommends that:

Policy Statements

A fuller description of this workshop and its recommendations will be available in the near future at the UKOLN WWW site in the form of a workshop report.


  1. MODELS: an introduction to…,
  2. Aslib (1995) Review of the public library service in England and Wales for the Department of National Heritage : summary and schedule of recommendations. London:Aslib.
  3. Apt Partnership (1995) The Apt Review: a review of library and information co-operation in the UK and Republic of Ireland for the Library and Information Co-operation Council (LINC). Sheffield:LINC. British Library R & D report, 6212
  4. The Anderson Report
  5. Viscount Web pages,
  6. Salser Web pages,
  7. SILO Web Site,
  8. Fretwell Downing’s presentation of a MODELS architecture

Author Details

Sarah Ormes,
Public Libraries Officer,
Email: lisslo@ukoln.ac.uk
Tel: 01225 826711
Address: UKOLN, University of Bath, Bath, BA2 7AY