Librarian Irene Herold authors book on library consortia and advocacy

New research addresses how libraries can work together to achieve and assess shared goals

April 21, 2021   /  
Irene Herold
Irene Herold, Librarian of the College

Irene Herold, responsible for leadership and administrative management of libraries at The College of Wooster, examines the  current work of library groups in her bookLeading Together: Academic Library Consortia and Advocacy, published on April 15 by the Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL). According to an announcement from the association, consortia advocacy has historically focused on the legislation, policy, and funding of libraries, but this book covers the unexplored area of advocacy models and frameworks meant to help consortia develop their own advocacy plans. Herold, a former ACRL president, said her work was sparked after being selected to present a workshop in 2018 for a state-wide consortium to create an advocacy plan, which involved reviewing hundreds of U.S. and Canadian library groups. “After that workshopI was looking for other models of what I had created and done and discovered the gap in the literature,” she said. 

A librarian since 1992, Herold used her own experiences with library consortia and research expertise in leadership for the topics covered in Leading Together. “As a library and ACRL leader, I have done advocacy work on a personal, professional, and political level,” she said. I’ve conducted research on leadership, so turning that lens to consortia was in alignment with my previous publications on leadership development, mentoring, and mindful leadership.” While the beginning of the book models traditional scholarly research studies with a historical and literature overview, theoretical framework, and description of methodology, Herold dedicates the second half to a case study of the hypothetical “Consortia X.” Modeled after the groups she researched for the 2018 workshop, Herold used Consortia X to create a detailed plan that consortia leaders could use to create their own advocacy training. “It includes links to multiple readings, resources, exercises, and tools,” Herold wrote in the publication’s announcement. “A facilitator may pick and choose which to use to build their own curriculum.” 

According to the Wooster librarian, this research is significant because it fills a gap in the library science literature, and while specific to academic library consortia, “the concepts and principles apply more broadly” as well. Herold is grateful for the opportunity to contribute to this research area and to Wooster for helping the book come out earlier. I am delighted and honored that this has been published,” she said. It has come out a year ahead of schedule due to the supportive environment of The College of Wooster that values faculty research and scholarship.