From the literature it is clear that collaboration between academics and library staff brings benefits. Exactly what enables and constrains such collaboration remains unclear. Using the lens of Giddens' Structuration Theory, constraining and enabling factors during collaboration between library staff and academics in universities in two contrasting countries, Australia and Vietnam, was explored. The analysis of the qualitative data, collected within an interpretivist framework, indicates that structural factors were dominant, for example, those related to governance and resources. Other times the role of agency was evident, for example, in trust building and personal relationships. Efforts on the part of library staff in the Vietnamese university, particularly, overcame structural barriers. The contrast between the universities of the two countries enhanced the clarity of the findings. A model, highlighting factors pertinent to effective collaboration is included.