Date of Award


Degree Name

EdD Doctor of Education

Dissertation Committee

Robert Donmoyer, PhD, Chair; Fred McFarlane, PhD, Member; Kenneth Galea’i, PhD, Member


Chamorro people, college library, Commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islands, consolidation, cultural norms, higher education, narrative case study, public libraries, qualitative, Saipan (Northern Mariana Islands), total resource sharing


Especially in difficult economic times, educational and public sector organizations are under pressure to do more with less. At times, this means consolidating organizations to avoid costly duplication. This study focused on three attempts at consolidation that occurred on the island of Saipan and the two major outer islands of the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI). These efforts entailed total resource sharing across the collegiate and public libraries on these islands. Total resource sharing among the collegiate and public libraries in the CNMI was first envisioned in the late 1980s and early 1990s. By 1994, the concept of total resource sharing was beginning to be implemented on the two outer islands; today the concept is fully operational in all three island locations. This research studied ex post facto the strategies that those who developed and promoted the total resource sharing idea used to get the idea implemented in the three settings. Qualitative interviewing and document analysis were the primary research methods employed in the study. The study identified and the dissertation documents indigenous cultural factors—factors referred to within the CNMI as “the Chamorro way”—that needed to be taken into account by those who led the approval and implementation effort. These factors include cultural norms and rules about who gets to take credit for an idea, what women can and cannot do, and the appropriate role for an outsider or a non-Chamorro. The study also documents how the very different political contexts on the mayor-dominated outer islands, on the one hand, and the more politically-complex island of Saipan where power is more diffuse, on the other, required those who led the resource sharing initiative to propose very different methods for accomplishing resource sharing in each environment. Finally, the study documents how leaders of the process effectively exploited economic crises in some cases to “sell” the resource sharing concept. This study will add to a small, but growing, literature describing resource sharing among public and academic libraries. The strategies and thinking that leaders used should also be adaptable to other policy arenas.

Document Type

Dissertation: Open Access