Resource Sharing in Canada


52 pages
Contains Bibliography
ISBN 0-660-55561-1
DDC 021.6'4'0971




Reviewed by Jeffrey Moon

Jeffrey Moon is Documents Reference/Data Centre Librarian at Queen’s


Resource Sharing in Canada is the product of Canada-wide consultations
initiated in 1985. The goal was to “obtain a clearer picture of
library resource-sharing systems, patterns and trends in the country,
and to identify any barriers or impediments to resource sharing which
should be addressed.” After almost four years of consultation, a
Canada-wide overview and a province-by-province picture emerged.

The book starts by describing the Canada-wide resource-sharing scene
and introducing the role of federal institutions. Descriptions by
province/territory and by library type follow. Provincial checklists of
significant features are of particular value, but combining them into
one larger table would have facilitated comparisons.

The next section delves into findings, barriers, and other issues.
Findings are discussed under a variety of headings, including regional
diversities/disparities, resource-sharing philosophies and benefits, the
role of provincial and research libraries, the value of union
catalogues, networking, and collection rationalization. None is dealt
with in detail; rather, each topic is put into context and discussed
briefly. Barriers (such as charging and lack of resources) and other
issues (such as staffing, preservation, and copyright) are similarly
dealt with. While this may leave some readers wanting more, it should
appease those wanting only an overview.

Finally, the book summarizes the extent of the resource-sharing
challenge, discusses how this challenge is being addressed, and presents
future initiatives. Many of these initiatives are directly related to
the activities of the National Library of Canada: libraries across
Canada look to the National Library for leadership and direction in
resource sharing. A bibliography of published and unpublished works,
with order information for the latter, is included. The book, which is
bilingual, is organized in tкte-beche fashion.

One subect that could have been discussed in more detail is the use of
electronic mail and networks. These technologies are streamlining
resource sharing and forging new areas of interlibrary co-operation
(e.g., the sharing of catalogue access, data, computing resources, and
reference expertise).

In conclusion, Resource Sharing in Canada effectively pulls together a
large body of opinion on resource sharing and presents it in a direct,
readable manner. The strategies and initiatives described provide a
useful overview of the challenge of library resource sharing in Canada.


National Library of Canada., “Resource Sharing in Canada,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed July 17, 2024,