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Collaborations For Libraries: How To Create New Things With Partners

On today’s Princh Library Blog post we have guest writer Egor Gerashchenko, deputy development director of the Centralized Library System of Moscow District sharing his thoughts on the benefits of collaborations for libraries. He is also sharing his checklist he uses to prepare for new collaborations.

Collaborations for Libraries

Branded clothes, souvenirs and rent-free space are an example of three collaborations for one library in Russia. Creating collaborations can help provide libraries’ resources that were potentially not possible before.

What options are there when you want modern and expensive resources for the library but have no means to make this happen?

Below we will look at a method that can help answer this question and be used immediately after reading this post. It’s easier to master the methodology of collaborations for those who have experience in barter cooperation, as having to negotiate collaborations can become tricky and could call for a bunch of back and forth between parties.

When you collaborate with a partner you can create a new product or move towards a single goal, but no partnership works without both parties providing something in return to each other.

An important aspect of a strong collaboration is the concept of image or brand. It is the main value for potential partners if a monetary collaboration is not possible.

It is easier to understand with examples, so let us discuss an example of a collaboration case involving the Library of the Planetarium. The opening of this library is based on three collaborations: public-private partnership, collaboration with the famous artist and, the most surprising maybe, with a wedding dress designer.

Let’s start by answering the main question, then we will move to a checklist you can use.

So, the main question is:

What does every collaboration give us?

The Investor

Public libraries have a terrible shortage of premises for rent as well as rental funds. We saw our task as redefining specific public spaces in order to supplement the functionality of the library. So, the concept of a popular science library was born at the creative gathering that unites a planetarium, museum, and technical laboratory. We have suggested this concept to the owner of the creative group.

The Artist

It was a collaboration for the visual appearance of the library. We offered an experienced artist the opportunity to release a collection of branded souvenirs with a theme that is specific to the library.

Wedding Dress Designer

While searching for another opportunity we concluded that the work on the library’s external appearance should not stop. A library visitor should be able to see the concepts’ embodiment with their own eyes. So, we turned to a designer to co-develop a uniform for the staff. We believe that it is boring to have the staff wear T-shirts or sweatshirts with the library logo, thus the apron of the “artisan” with bookshelf-like pockets was born. This version does not require constant care and allows employees to maintain their own style.

How to talk with influencers and partners

It may be intimidating to think about collaborating with celebrities, businesses, or creative intellectuals. To help with this, we have created a simple checklist.

We found that the process of negotiating with successful and famous people or businesses is easier when they are caught up in the idea presented. In order to do this, you have to prepare, for which you can use the checklist below.

Why do we need this?

Discuss with your colleagues the options and goals of the potential collaboration. Make sure that your values match with the potential partners’ values.

Alternative options

It is advisable to plan for possible failures and approach the task comprehensively without wasting time by returning to step 1.

What will a partner get in qualitative terms?

When monetary payments are out of the question, leveraging the library’s brand is important in determining potential partnerships with stakeholders. The idea of a collaboration is creating something useful that would only be possible when these particular elements work together. Back to the example above: What is the probability that a wedding dress designer will design clothes for librarians? In this case, your idea, vision, and desire to make it happen are the most valuable resources.

What will your partner get in quantitative terms?

Connect the classics of advertising coverage: use the data from attendance (offline and virtual) and the opportunity to work with the media. The key trump card for libraries is statistics. I will never get tired of repeating that the amount of data collected for reporting can be applied in other areas of work – analytics, promotion, etc. In this case, statistics are needed to offer advertising support to a potential partners. In addition to the subject of collaboration, which will work as a native integration, we refer to the advertising package: mentions online or via partner print media, and the organization of interviews. The large coverage contributes to greater brand recognizability and audience growth. Libraries can offer advertisements on the “new field” – this should be presented as a positive and effective opportunity.

Remember Reputation

Reputations for both the library and the collaborating party will be important. Following through on what has been agreed is important for both parties, as it will determine future collaborations. This means that the first collaboration is extremely important for everyone involved. Everything you have promised to do on your part must be completed and delivered as expected.


In conclusion, collaborations are a great way to promote the library and other creative entities, and when handled well, they can pave the way for fantastic professional relationships going forward.

We will be back next week with another interesting article from the library world!

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