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Collection Collaboration between The Ohio State University and the Columbus Metropolitan Library

Columbus Metro Library

Problem Statement

Library staff from the Ohio State University Libraries (OSUL) approached Columbus Metro Library (CML) about providing a leisure reading collection for students, staff and faculty in OSU’s new Main Library. In turn, CML wanted better ILL access. OSUL had been charging CML for items and transportation of these items wasn’t efficient.


OSUL had been providing a leisure reading collection service via a McNaughton plan. Due to budget cuts they were looking for a cost effective way to continue this service. Additionally, they wanted to partner more with their large urban public library system, CML.

Staff from both libraries worked to identify titles that would meet OSUL’s customer base. They worked out the transportation logistics as well as ILS access. This project coincided with OSUL’s remodel of the the William Oxley Thompson Library renovation. The project took three years at a cost of $109 million and was a restoration of a historic building that originally opened in 1913.

In turn, CML received free Interlibrary Loan access to OSUL’s collection. Transportation routes were worked out so that material is delivered on a weekly basis.


OSU students, staff and faculty now have access to approximately 3500 items from CML. The items are a mix of popular fiction, nonfiction, and graphic novels. They can return CML items at the OSU Main library or any CML location in Columbus.

CML customers now have access to millions of items in OSU’s collections. Making the ILL process easier has enhanced CML’s collection by providing academic titles at a low cost.

Because of this project, the two libraries have other ideas about how to collaborate so that a large urban and large academic library system can better meet the needs of residents in the central Ohio area.