Regional Library Networks

United States

Authored by: Catherine C. Wilt

Encyclopedia of Library and Information Science, Fourth Edition

Print publication date:  November  2017
Online publication date:  November  2017

Print ISBN: 9781466552593
eBook ISBN: 9781315116143
Adobe ISBN:


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The U.S. Regional Library Networks (RLNs) are a loosely federated system of 15 membership organizations of libraries and related cultural organizations, established in the 20th century to facilitate access to information through resource sharing and cooperation among members. Created by librarians, the RLNs support their members through an array of services (predominately technology based) and provide a formal structure by which their members can work cooperatively to create programs members could not create individually. From as early as the 1930s, the RLNs have served as change agents and facilitators for the introduction and implementation of innovations into their members’ operations, including the integration of large-scale technological systems such as Online Computer Library Center (OCLC). In the example of the RLNs’ collaboration with OCLC, the result is a highly organized, now international, network of the world's bibliographic information, constituting a cooperative database development model that is unparalleled.

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