Maine Shared Collections’ Services & Membership


In 2014, the Maine Shared Collections Strategy (MSCS) grant partners analyzed approximately 3 million print monograph titles in their collections and developed criteria for which titles they would commit to retain and those that they could safely withdraw. They then allocated retention responsibility across the group. As a result of this work the MSCS partners agreed to retain approximately 1.4 million titles for a 15-year period, during which time they won’t withdraw these titles. The titles will be retained in-place by the libraries and remain accessible via existing resource sharing agreements. The retention commitments have been documented and disclosed in MaineCat, OCLC WorldCat, and in the local catalogs of the partners.

Although the grant partners made a large volume of retention commitments, there are going to be rare and interesting titles held by other Maine libraries that should be protected, which is why we want to attract new members. Given our experience with collection analysis and the body of data we have to compare to, we want to work with new libraries (Maine only) to identify titles they might consider committing to retain and also those titles they can safely weed because they are being committed to retain by other libraries. The Maine Shared Collection Cooperative (MSCC) was established in-part to oversee the post-grant activities, including recruiting new members.

Collection Analysis Services

Building upon our experiences from the grant we identified what data libraries can use to make retention and withdrawal decisions and how that data can be presented. Maine Shared Collections have contracted with Sara Amato, a systems librarian, to extract bibliographic and item data from local library information systems and compare that data with holdings in OCLC WorldCat and MaineCat. Sara compiles this data into spreadsheets to be used in the collection analysis (see example of spreadsheet for Edythe L. Dyer Community Library Under10OCLC).

We can provide you with spreadsheets which show:

  • Titles you hold which have received a Maine Shared Collections retention commitment at another library.
  • A subset of committed to retain titles you hold that have Maine Shared Collection retention commitments and have had fewer than two circulations at your library since being added to the collection.
  • Titles you own with zero Maine library holdings in OCLC WorldCat. We also show MaineCat holding levels for these titles.
  • Titles you own with 10 or fewer holdings in OCLC WorldCat. We also show MaineCat holding levels for these titles.
  • Metadata errors e.g. incorrect and missing ISBN, OCLC numbers that can be used to clean records.
  • All your item level records with circulation and OCLC WorldCat holdings data.
  • Data permitting, we can adapt these spreadsheets to meet local needs.

The University of Maine have agreed to support these efforts by funding the role of Maine Shared Collection Librarian, Matthew Revitt, who as part of his role of coordinating the Cooperative’s activities will meet with library staff to review the spreadsheets and offer suggestions for areas of focus for retention and withdrawal.

Benefits of Joining

  • —Data-informed collection management decisions, while data alone is never going to make collection management decisions for you, it can be used to make more informed decisions about what titles to retain based on overlap with peers, rarity, and usage.
  • —Insurance of retention commitments, the large volume of retention commitments made by the grant partners and those made subsequently by new members can act as an insurance policy, so you can point to the retention commitment as a reason why you can weed your local copies.
  • Guilt free weeding, you can chose to weed those titles committed to retain by members while still retaining access to them via inter library loan.
  • —Freeing up local shelf and storage space.
  • —Contributing towards the common good, even a small number of retention commitments will mean you are contributing towards the common good of managing and preserving the print collection in Maine.

Cost of Collection Analysis Service

The cost of collection analysis services is based on the time it takes to complete the data extracts and compile the above spreadsheets, so the larger the collection the more time it will take to run the comparisons. For libraries with a collection size of under 50,000 print monograph volumes then it will cost $350. Between 50,000 and 100,000 volumes then it will cost $420. There are NO ongoing membership fees.

How to Participate

If you are interested in working with us on analyzing your print monograph collection, or just want more information please contact Matthew Revitt ( or 207 581-1634).

There may be other options for libraries who can’t pay fees for the collection analysis service for further information contact me. Libraries can also self-nominate titles they feel warrant Maine Shared Collections retention commitments by sending me a list of titles they agree to retain.

Process for Joining the Maine Shared Collections Cooperative

Contracting with Maine Shared Collections for collection analysis services does not commit you to joining the Maine Shared Collection Cooperative (MSCC). However, if your library agrees to commit to retain titles you are required to join and have the MSCC Memorandum of Understanding signed by an institutional representative, for example chair of board of trustees or provost, before the retention commitments are documented in catalogs. There are no ongoing membership fees for joining the Cooperative. The MSCC Memorandum of Understanding includes the terms and conditions of the retention commitment and describes the governance structure of the Cooperative.

As of July 2017, 41 libraries have gone through the collection analysis process ranging from small public libraries to University of Maine system libraries:

  • Belfast Free Library
  • Blue Hill Public Library
  • Central Maine Community College
  • Dorothy W. Quimby Library (Unity College)
  • Eastern Maine Community College
  • Edythe L. Dyer Community Library
  • Falmouth Public Library
  • Freeport Community Library
  • Gardner Public Library
  • Husson University
  • Jesup Memorial Library
  • Kennebec Valley Community College
  • Kennebunk Free Library
  • Lithgow Public Library
  • Merrill Memorial Library
  • McArthur Public Library
  • Northeast Harbor Library
  • Northern Maine Community College
  • Old Town Public Library
  • Norway Memorial Library
  • Patten Free Library
  • Rice Public Library
  • Rockland Public Library
  • Scarborough Public Library
  • Southern Maine Community College
  • Southwest Harbor Public Library
  • St Joseph’s College
  • Thomas College
  • Thomas Memorial Library
  • Topsham Public Library
  • UMaine Augusta
  • UMaine Augusta Bangor
  • UMaine Farmington
  • UMaine Fort Kent
  • UMaine Machias
  • UMaine Presque Isle
  • Washington County Community College
  • Wells Public Library
  • Windham Public Library
  • Witherle Memorial Library
  • York County Community College

Of the 41 libraries, 33 have so far joined MSCC and have collectively agreed to retain approximately 1,800 titles. As of July 2017, MSCC has 39 members (including the founding members).

Click here to view a summary of the analysis data.

Documenting and Disclosing Retention Commitments

We will document and disclose your agreed retention commitments in local catalogs, MaineCat, and in OCLC (if you are a member). Documenting the retention commitments will allow you to easily identify those items you have committed to retain and so shouldn’t be withdrawn.

Future Work

At Maine Shared Collections Cooperative (MSCC) we want to build upon the work of the grant and investigate further opportunities for collaboration, for example, prospective collection development. By joining the Cooperative you can be a part of such work.