Grant Proposal

2006 Mellon Grant Request [abridged]

I. Request.

The Colby, Bates and Bowdoin College Libraries (CBB Libraries) respectfully request a grant of $290,300 over two years from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to build a model collaborative library collection development and management program. The colleges will use Mellon funds to hire two temporary librarians and to increase the hours of two current librarians. This will provide release time for on-staff librarians, who will then serve as project staff. Additionally, Mellon funds will support cataloging outsourcing, which will also free staff time
Previous grants from the Mellon Foundation have enabled CBB Libraries to build a service and delivery framework for collection sharing. The libraries have developed technologies that allow them to share their catalogs, an interlibrary loan system with common circulation policies and active delivery service, and systems to support some cooperative acquisitions to achieve reduced group pricing. In 2005, the Mellon Foundation supported cooperative CBB planning to include coordinated collection development and management and the three colleges remain grateful for this support. With additional funding from the Mellon Foundation and under the guidance of the head librarians, the library staffs are now ready to take this project to next level.

II. Goals.

The colleges will engage in a CBB library collection development and management project that will:

  1. Expand the collection of materials available to the CBB academic communities;
  2. Build a faculty culture in each of the three colleges that embraces a shared collection model based on a greatly expanded and diverse collection of print and digital materials relevant to the curriculum and faculty interests; and
  3. Facilitate the sharing of budgetary and space resources, so that all three libraries operate more cost-effectively.

III. Rationale.

The collaborative project the colleges envision is based on two premises. The first is that effective collection development must be grounded in the academic disciplines and the publishing patterns associated with them. The second is that assessing the impact of collection development takes place over a period of years. During the planning effort that led to this proposal, the CBB Librarians identified four pilot areas (Asian Studies, Economics, Environmental Studies and Medieval Studies) and completed analyses of collections in two of these areas (Economics and Environmental Studies) that enabled them to begin developing effective models of collaboration. The three college libraries now propose an iterative project over the next two years to refine these models, apply them to increasingly broad areas of the collections, and assess their effectiveness…

IV. Activities and Outcomes.

Phase I (September 2006 – May 2007).

The project staff will conduct their work in two phases. In the first phase, they will implement strategies for joint collection development and joint approval plans for Economics and Environmental Studies that were developed during the planning process. The project staff will also complete the analyses of the CBB collections’ strategies for Asian Studies and Medieval Studies and implement them. This phase will extend over nine months and will focus on six activities, resulting in the following outcomes:

    • Workable models to extend cooperative collection management to all subject areas,
    • Faculty acceptance and support of a cooperative model that avoids duplication and extends purchasing power,
    • Greater understanding of the tools and communication strategies needed to assess and manage the CBB library collections, as they relate to current and changing information needs of students and faculty,
    • Viable models to address storage and de-accessing of duplicative print collections.
    • The development and testing of a model to track and measure change in collection building practices in the four focus areas, which can then be applied to the broader collections, and
    • A formative assessment of the project goals to guide activities in Phase Two.

Phase II (June 2007-October 2008).

In the second phase, the project staff will extend the collaborative program to other areas of the collection

Overall Project Outcomes.

  • Increased universe of titles available to CBB faculty and students;
  • A change in faculty culture that endorses shared collection building and use and recognition of the advantages of such a model;
  • Joint approval plans for books and other resources;
  • Shared e-collections that broadly support the curricula
  • Policies for integrating electronic books into materials acquisitions practices;
  • A plan for periodical and serials management, to reduce space constraints and ensure future archival access, including de-accessioning and storage protocols;
  • New model for librarians involved in collection management which emphasizes intercollegiate communication;
  • New model for librarians to communicate as a consortium to faculty the interconnectedness of the collections and future collecting efforts;
  • Ongoing curriculum review to identify needed changes in collecting levels;
  • A plan for systematic statistics collection and assessment that librarians will use to measure the effects of collaboration on collection building and a means by which new trends in publishing and curriculum development are incorporated into the project; and
  • Dissemination of CBB findings to the library community through presentations at regional and national conferences and workshops.

V. Staffing Strategy and Project Personnel.

As noted in the request, the Colleges will use Mellon funds to increase library staffing and to outsource cataloging to provide release time for on-staff librarians who have the skills, institutional history and background to analyze their collections and to work together to develop the plan over the two-year grant period. CBB Libraries have used this strategy in the past to enable existing staff members to develop new habits of working together and to learn how to use new tools, and then take that learning and use it to produce rapid and permanent institutional change. The librarians will use this time to meet with colleagues and faculty for analyzing their current collecting interests, curricula and historical strengths for each discipline and each college. Funding from the Foundation will be critical to provide the time to focus on changing how the colleges will build their collections and on how they will transform their cultures to make these modifications truly effective.

VI. Moving from Passive Sharing to Active Cooperative Collection Building.

In 1997-98, with support from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, CBB Libraries developed technologies to provide direct patron requesting of library materials from all three libraries, and then migrated this function to the statewide Maine Info Net system. CBB has pushed the degree of reciprocity for borrowing farther than most libraries, giving priority to each other’s interlibrary loan requests and providing students, faculty and staff equal borrowing privileges at all three libraries. The consortium has established a highly reliable, rapid and successful document delivery system upon which faculty members have come to trust and rely. More recently, CBB Libraries have joined those at Williams, Wellesley and Northeastern to develop NExpress, a regional resource sharing system similar to Maine InfoNet, which may be expanded in future years to include additional New England libraries. The NExpress libraries are acting as development partners with Innovative Interfaces, Inc., to extend patron initiated borrowing to include electronic delivery of journal articles.

The CBB Libraries are positioned to move from passive sharing to active cooperative collection building because of high faculty and student regard for the three colleges’ interlibrary loan services and increasing faculty understanding of the benefits of sharing collections. We will change the faculty culture from expecting those books useful to their research and teaching to reside in their own college library to one where it is acceptable for those books to reside at two or three campuses, because the delivery system is so rapid and efficient. The librarians will emphasize the benefits of increasing access to a wider universe of readily available materials and the long-term ability to support an increasingly diverse and interdisciplinary curriculum at all three colleges.