Kurt Munson Reflects on Project ReShare

Kurt Munson, Head of Access Services at Northwestern University, has been involved with Project ReShare since its inception.  He has served several important roles in the Project, including as a member of the Steering Committee and as Chair of the Product Management Team since 2018.  He was instrumental in the visioning of what Project ReShare could become, and he announced last month that he is stepping down from his official roles in Project ReShare. We want to celebrate his contributions and learn from his experience by interviewing him for the Project ReShare news site. 

Project ReShare: You’ve been involved with Project ReShare since the beginning.  Can you talk a little about how it all began?

Kurt Munson: Sebastian (Hammer,Co-Founder and President of Index Data) and I had a chat at the Midwinter meeting of the American Library Association in Denver [in 2018]. We were concerned about contraction and consolidation in the ILL software marketplace leaving libraries with fewer and fewer choices as well as a concern that standards for interoperability were being ignored. We got a group together for a first meeting in August of that year and started fleshing out what a product could be and, more importantly, how to have a community of support around it.

Project ReShare: What has changed since those early days?

Kurt Munson: ReShare has forced “churn in the market,” as I call it. ISO 18626 is now on all roadmaps due, I think, to our early adoption of that standard for ReShare. We have a growing community of users and a strong base of people committed to the project who graciously give their time to share knowledge to develop better products. 

Project ReShare: What are you most excited about for the future of ReShare?

Kurt Munson: Expansion both in functionalities and user base. The ability to build out a group of software functions to meet the needs of many different types of libraries as well as different groupings of libraries. More than anything else it’s the creativity of the community as it pushes the boundaries. ReShare has grown so much and my decision to step down is because the project is well past my ability to effectively support it with my knowledge and experience. In the words of Banksy- “When the time comes to leave, just walk away quietly and don’t make any fuss.”

In the end, I don’t know if Project ReShare benefited more from this experience or honestly that I did. It was a wonderful collaborative learning experience from which I have learned a great deal that I use daily.