In a recent article in Against the Grain, Charles Hillen, Director of Library Technical Services at GOBI Library Solutions, wrote about outsourcing library technical services to a vendor, using his background as an Acquisitions Librarian and a vendor librarian who manages a technical services operation, to inform his perspective. Charles writes that “[o]utsourcing, when carefully planned and dutifully managed is a powerful boon to a library’s workflows and time constraints because receiving catalog records and pre-processed materials will allow the library staff to devote time and energy to other tasks, backlogs, or administrative priorities.”  But how and why should a library consider outsourcing their technical services to an outside vendor?

Outsourcing, when carefully planned and dutifully managed is a powerful boon to a library’s workflows.

Hillen highlights five things to consider when outsourcing technical services:

  1. Preparing to Outsource
  2. How to Start (Start at the Beginning, and Start Small)
  3. Physical Processing
  4. Catalog Records
  5. Building Trust for Long-Term Success

Hillen discusses some of the strengths that a vendor can bring, including broad experience from working with so many different libraries with different needs. “Library services vendors see a wide variety of practices and treatments in use at libraries around the world, and they are never short of considerations to consider as they make an on-the-spot decision for the one title that raises an eyebrow.” Vendors have truly seen it all. 

Read the article to learn how libraries and vendors can build trust over time, how a vendor’s experience can help libraries, the best way to evaluate performance in the relationship, and more.

Outsourcing: A Librarian Vendor Perspective