We’ve been thinking about teamwork and creating successful partnerships for libraries within a civic data ecosystem.

In Pittsburgh, the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh, the University Library System at the University of Pittsburgh, and the Western Pennsylvania Regional Data Center have worked together on joint projects, organized events in the region, engaged in information sharing and brainstorming, and connected our user groups with the partner organizations.

Here are some factors we’ve identified as helping our collaboration:

  • Connecting to the Library’s Mission
    Collaborating across institutions usually requires some organizational permission or, at minimum, not getting blocked by your own organization leadership. Library leaders will need to be on board if they are going to allocate resources – like your time! – to the work.

  • Playing Distinct Roles
    While commonalities in missions and goals provide a valuable starting point for collaboration, differences are equally critical. We believe strong teams have a variety of perspectives and skills, connect to different audiences, but also share resources.

  • Experiencing Mutual Benefits
    A collaboration will be stronger if each partner is building capacity and reaching a new audience.

We’ve written more about this in our draft guide and we want to hear from you!

Libraries, if you’ve been part of a civic data partnership, what has helped you to collaborate successfully? What challenges have you encountered? What barriers are standing in your way? How have you overcome them? Tell us here!