The BLC Bookmark News: April 2024

During last year's strategic planning process, BLC's membership identified several communication-related aspirations: to strengthen internal communication strategies, establish infrastructure to support and empower BLC's membership communities, and refine mechanisms for BLC Communities to share information, data, and documentation.

The BLC Bookmark 

In support of these goals, we're launching "The BLC Bookmark," a new bi-monthly email newsletter, alongside its companion, The BLC Bookmark News. In these communications, we'll provide brief highlights of our members' work across each of our four core programs: Professional DevelopmentResource SharingResource Management, and Shared Systems & Services

Thanks for reading, and please don't hesitate to reach out to us if you have any questions or want to get involved!

Professional Development
Resource Sharing
Resource Management
Shared Systems & Services

Professional Development

BLC Forum: UNH will host BLC Forum 2024, our annual membership meeting, on June 12. Last year’s program included 18 member-led sessions representing a wide range of areas of library practice and collaborations – and we hope to welcome even more library colleagues to share their expertise this year. We invite you to submit your proposals here by 5 pm ET on Friday, April 19, 2024. 

BLC Leads: Thanks to Dorothy Meaney (Tufts University), Andrew White (Wesleyan University), and Stephanie Walker (UMass Boston) for their service to the selection committee, we have selected a cohort of 21 participants from 15 member institutions for BLC Leads 2024.

EDI Steering Committee: BLC hosted the kick-off meeting for our new EDI Steering Committee on March 8. Michael Brown (Reference and Workforce Development Librarian at BPL) and Sonia Pacheco (Social Sciences Librarian at UMass Dartmouth) will serve as co-chairs, stewarding the collective efforts to identify an equity, diversity, and inclusion strategy and long-term goals to advance consortial EDI efforts at scale.

Innovation Fund: In 2024, BLC has awarded three Innovation Fund proposals to support and enrich the activities of the BLC Communities. Funded projects include: OpenRefine Intermediate Skills for Metadata Manipulation (CRMM COI), Communication Skills for Library Leaders (BLC Leads Alumni COP), and Mentoring Training (BLC Leads 2023 cohort). We’re particularly pleased to see proposals emerge from the alumni groups, and expect the mentorship proposal to inform future directions for a potential mentorship program at BLC. 

NISO Library Standards Alliance: BLC’s new agreement extends LSA membership benefits to all BLC member institutions, including access to NISO’s educational programming, participation in NISO Working Groups and Standing Committees, and discounted registration for the NISO Plus conference. Please check out the ‘Making the Most of Your NISO Membership’ webinar to learn more.

Webinars & Workshops: BLC has hosted eleven webinars and workshops so far in 2024, including a series of conversations with Project Information Literacy, a panel spearheaded by the Media Community of Interest through the Innovation Fund on Equity and Ethics in Cultural Heritage Preservation, a workshop and webinar series with Defend Yourself on de-escalation training, and a panel in collaboration with the OER Community of Interest on OER 101: Beginning and Building Support at Your Institution. Join us for OER 101: Beginning and Building Support at Your Institution on March 27. A special thanks to Bentley University for hosting our in-person workshop, Unleash Your Quiet Power: A Workshop for Introverted Library Leaders, led by ASERL’s Elaina Norlin on March 20. As always, please share your ideas and proposals for topics, speakers, and formats throughout the year via this online form.

 You can find all upcoming programs here


Resource Sharing

Controlled Digital Lending: BLC hosted a kick-off event for the CDL Early Adopters Program in February, with attendees representing all but one member institution. We’re working on a participation agreement informed by members’ priorities and legal requirements as the commitment deadline approaches in May. BLC staff have continued presenting on BLC’s work at conferences and at consortium board meetings. Later this spring, BLC's Resource Sharing Program Manager Marc Hoffeditz will join Sebastian Hammer of Index Data at the NEASIS&T conference and the Colorado Resource Sharing Conference, and facilitate a workshop on the Consortial CDL Toolkit at the ICOLC NA meeting. Following the recent call for allied membership in Project ReShare, BLC was pleased to welcome eight member institutions to the Project ReShare community and vote on future development directions for ReShare Digital. In December 2023, BLC joined together with eight library organizations and 218 individual librarians to file an amicus brief in the ongoing Hachette v. Internet Archive lawsuit.

E-Books Sharing Working Group: The working group has released their first drafts of the E-Book Roadmap for feedback. In the weeks and months ahead, we’ll continue engaging with other BLC membership Communities, including the HRM and HRS Committees, and the CRMM, Resource Sharing, and Technology COIs to strengthen these documents.

ILL Data Review: Marc Hoffeditz recently concluded a comprehensive review of interlibrary loan data for the previous five years. The analysis provided key insights to support the OCLC Steering Committee’s negotiations to reduce the cost of WorldShare ILL, ILLiad, and Tipasa. We are also leveraging this data to identify potential consortial partners to broker no-fee reciprocal lending agreements, an ambition articulated in BLC’s Strategic Action Plan. 

Partner Shipping: In an effort to contain escalating delivery costs, BLC established a small working group that has partnered with Optima and the MLS Courier to explore bundling return shipments outside MA and RI through volunteer ‘hub’ locations in BLC’s network. The HRS Committee voted to approve the Partner Shipping Pilot Program at their March 2024 meeting and the Board of Directors will vote on the proposal in May 2024. If approved, the pilot will launch on June 1, 2024.

ILL Platform Evaluation Working Group: In alignment with our Strategic Action Plan, a new working group will be formed to identify required and desired attributes of our resource sharing platforms as a consortium. If you are interested in participating in this subgroup, please contact Marc Hoffeditz at mhoffeditz@blc.org

Site Visits to Member Institutions: Marc Hoffeditz has visited nineteen member institutions to engage ILL staff and strategize about how BLC can best support their work, with plans to meet with all members’ resource sharing departments by the end of this fiscal year.


Resource Management

E-Books Summit: UNH will host BLC’s first E-Book Summit on June 11, the day before BLC Forum. The E-Book Summit was one of the new initiatives in our strategic action plan, and seeks to articulate a vision for consortial e-book programs.

Joint Taskforce on Metadata Futures: BLC's Executive Director Charlie Barlow was recently appointed to the Joint Taskforce on Metadata Futures, a collaborative effort with representation from ALA Core’s Metadata Section, the Library of Congress, and the International Coalition of Library Consortia. The taskforce will review emerging metadata sharing projects and open source platforms and develop recommendations for metadata sharing policies that can meet the emerging needs of libraries and consortia.

Path to Open: Eight BLC member institutions have taken advantage of BLC’s special pricing for JSTOR’s Path to Open initiative. This new pilot program supports libraries’ efforts to increase cultural diversity and invest in sustainable open access solutions while reducing financial risk for academic publishers to invest in authors and their scholarship.


Shared Systems & Services

Network Zone: Ben Ide has provided leadership to our Network Zone project since joining BLC as our new Systems Manager in December 2023. He joined Nathan Mealey (AUL for Discovery and Access, Wesleyan University and chair of the Network Zone Leads group) to provide an update on the project, future directions, and opportunities for additional member institutions to participate at the March 15 board meeting.

Technology Inventory: BLC staff have assumed responsibility for administering the Technology Inventory, undertaken by the Technology COI for the past several years. Ben Ide will work with interested membership Communities to refine the survey to meet new and evolving institutional needs, with results shared with all participating BLC member institutions later in 2024.


Thank You for Reading!

We hope you enjoyed reading about all the ambitious work our members are doing. If you have any questions about any of the projects or initiatives above, or if you're looking for any opportunities to get involved, don't hesitate to get in touch!

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Boston Library Consortium