Mutual Support Agreement

All Members of the Consortium participate in the Mutual Support Agreement. The Agreement, approved in its current form by the M25 Consortium in 2004 and reviewed in 2012, 2014 and 2016 provides that in the event of a disaster at a member library, other Consortium libraries will endeavour to provide study space for students from the affected library, providing physical access in line with the arrangements normally offered under the SCONUL Access and/or M25 Access and Borrowing schemes. The Scheme can be invoked for a month and is designed to allow staff at affected libraries to prioritise disaster recovery by providing their students access to space and resources.

1. The purpose of the Agreement is to define and make available with minimum delay and negotiation services available to staff and students from a member library where a disaster has occurred from host Consortium member libraries.

2. The Agreement is invoked only in case of evident need in an emergency situation. Participating member libraries undertake to apply their best efforts to honouring the principles of the scheme, but the scheme confers no rights on individual users, access to member libraries being ultimately at the discretion of the libraries concerned.

3. The responsibility for invoking the Agreement rests with the Director of the affected library and initial and subsequent communication is made via the closed M25 Directors’ email discussion list.

4. Where the affected Library operates from several sites or buildings across a campus, the Director would normally be expected to make provision for basic study space and access to networked electronic resources in other unaffected buildings.

5. In order to register particular subject strengths in collections, each member library in the Consortium uses Search25. If the Agreement is invoked, it is this directory which would be consulted by the affected library to identify other Consortium Members which could provide access to staff and students for particular subject needs and, depending on the initial responses from other Directors, to make direct approaches as required.

6. Physical access arrangements and the level of services provided by the host library to staff and students from the affected library will normally be in line with those offered under the SCONUL Access Scheme and, for a small number of M25 Consortium members, the M25 Access and Borrowing scheme. Access to specialised services, such as Inter-Library Loans and electronic resources which are not covered by standard Jisc agreements, would be by specific negotiation and exchange of letters between the Directors of the host and affected libraries. Liability arrangements for the affected and host libraries will operate in a similar way as for the SCONUL Access Scheme.

7. The Mutual Support Agreement is invoked for a time-limited period of a maximum of one month in the first instance. Any extension to that period or variation in the level of service provided would be determined by negotiation between the affected library and the host library and agreed by exchange of letters.