Shared Print

The Council of Prairie and Pacific Libraries’ Shared Print Archive Network (SPAN) is a distributed shared print program. SPAN's main goals are to provide access to shared print archives, create opportunities for the reallocation of library space and preserve the print record for its members in a cost-effective way. Rather than thinking about the project in terms of preserving the “last copy,” SPAN emphasizes the role of the archived print as part of an optimal copy network that includes other print archiving initiatives.

22 of COPPUL's full members (see the list below) have agreed to work together to retain and manage the shared print archive. Selection of titles for inclusion in SPAN will be made using a risk management framework: materials will be categorized as low-, medium- or high-risk based on their availability electronically, their rarity and their relevance to the Western Canadian region.

The COPPUL Shared Print Archive Network Member Agreement outlines the governance of the initiative, as well as the contributions and responsibilities expected from each participating library.

List of Participating Libraries

  • Athabasca University
  • Brandon University
  • Capilano University
  • Concordia University of Edmonton
  • Kwantlen Polytechnic University
  • MacEwan University
  • Mount Royal University
  • Simon Fraser University
  • Thompson Rivers University
  • Trinity Western University
  • University of Alberta
  • University of British Columbia
  • University of Calgary
  • University of the Fraser Valley
  • University of Lethbridge
  • University of Manitoba
  • University of Northern British Columbia
  • University of Regina
  • University of Saskatchewan
  • University of Victoria
  • University of Winnipeg
  • Vancouver Island University

For more information, contact the SPAN Coordinator,

Supporting Resources

SPAN infographic for decision makers

SPAN infographic for library staff



In November 2015, SPAN embarked on a monograph project in conjunction with Sustainable Collection Services (SCS) of OCLC. The intent of the project is to assess usage, duplication, and dispersion of holdings across participating libraries, to the fullest extent the collective data can support. There is strong interest in identifying and preserving scarcely-held materials within the group. There is also interest in de-selecting some low-use, widely-held titles. COPPUL also seeks to design its project to dovetail with the Last Copy initiative currently under discussion, and organized by the Library and Archives of Canada. Depending on timing, scope, and other factors, it is hoped that COPPUL data generated by this project can be incorporated into any broader initiative that eventuates. Similarly, COPPUL and the University of Saskatchewan would like to make use (subject to modification and update) of the data generated during Saskatchewan’s individual project with SCS.

Participating libraries

  • Simon Fraser University
  • Thompson Rivers University
  • University of Calgary
  • University of Lethbridge
  • University of Manitoba
  • University of Regina
  • University of Saskatchewan
  • University of Victoria
  • University of Winnipeg
  • Vancouver Island University

Project goals

  • Providing participating libraries an opportunity to weed with minimal impact on users.
  • Identifying unique or scarcely-held titles for retention and preservation.
  • Evolving a regional strategy for print book collections 
  • Depending on the number and interest of participating libraries, there may also be an opportunity to inform and influence ongoing collection development for print monographs in the region.

The project will focus first on shared retention scenarios, based on the data. Retention models will be defined by the group, and treatment of those titles decided collaboratively. Retention commitments will be allocated according to parameters decided by the group, creating a print book ‘safety net’ across the group. Once retention commitments have been identified, individual libraries will be able to act independently and according to local needs on other holdings.

In-Scope materials

  • Circulating print monographs (including reference works that circulate) 
  • Juvenile materials 
  • Government documents classed in LC or DDC 
  • Music scores

Out-of-Scope materials

  • Serials (anything with record type ‘s’)
  • Special Collections 
  • Government Documents not classed in LC or DDC
  • Reference books and other non-circulating items 
  • E-Books 
  • Micro-formats/Fiche 
  • Audio-Visual/Media 
  • Lost/Withdrawn items
  • Theses/Dissertations 
  • Maps

Memorandum of Understanding

Version 1.0 of the Memorandum of Understanding was approved on April 18, 2018. It applies to the original ten participating institutions. Version 2.0 of the Memorandum of Understanding is available to institutions that wish to join the program after April 18, 2018. Please contact if you have any questions about the MOU.

Teleconference notes

OCLC Shared Print Registry information

Missing items want list

As participating libraries implement their retention commitments, it is inevitable that they will discover items that are missing from their collections. We have developed a mechanism for libraries to report missing items and for other participants to retain them if they are able.

To report missing items

  1. Download the template Excel file.
  2. Enter the data about your missing items in the Excel file.
  3. Email the completed file to
  4. COPPUL staff will add your data to the COPPUL SPAN Monographs Project #1 Want List.

To commit to retain missing items from another participant

  1. Consult the COPPUL SPAN Monographs Project #1 Want List.
  2. If you are able to commit to retain a given titles, click on the “Click to retain this title” hyperlink.
  3. COPPUL staff will be in touch with you to confirm your commitment and will update the want list.
  4. You can then update your local catalogue record as well as your OCLC local holding record (LHR) to register your commitment.

COPPUL staff will send out periodic reminders to consult the want list.

Reporting Retentions and Withdrawals

Participating libraries that retained or withdraw material from their collections as a result of SPAN archiving efforts are encouraged to report these to COPPUL, as a means of evaluating the effectiveness of our program. Please use this Google form to report either retentions or withdrawals.

SPAN Program Evaluation Final Report 2022

Reports to Directors

Reports to the Print Archive Network (PAN) Forum

Publications and Presentations