Maintaining a collaborative relationship in the long-term is often a challenge. There are several actions that your library may take to avoid failure.
First, having a clear understanding and developing an agreement among partners about the goals, specific actions, resources, and responsibilities for each partner, as well as a few guidelines to manage the partnership is always a good idea. In a strong collaboration, a shared understanding of goals, responsibilities, and commitments between your public library and your partners is the first and foremost step to ensure all parties’ motivation and commitment in the collaboration.
Second, make sure you communicate regularly with your partners, both formally and informally. Schedule regular meetings to make decisions and to keep the other party informed. If necessary, use email and phone between meetings. In addition to the more formal communication, spend time building personal relationships with your partners to improve mutual trust with each other. If you are collaborating on a specific initiative with more than one partner, keep everyone in the loop. It is important that you communicate with all partners on a regular basis, delivering consistent messages to everyone. You may also want to think about setting up a group with representatives of the different organizations involved that meets regularly.
Given that working jointly with different organizations that may have different cultures, internal processes, and expectations about the collaboration may be challenging, do not hesitate to invest in tools and processes and to train your staff to make the most out of the partnership.