The BLC Bookmark News: Summer 2024

It's been a busy few months at BLC! This June, BLC hosted the BLC Forum and the inaugural E-Book Summit at the University of New Hampshire. We also held the Science Boot Camp for Librarians at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth and kicked-off BLC Leads at Trinity College.

Now that the dust has settled, we've compiled some recent updates across our four core programs, Professional Development, Resource Management, Resource Sharing, and Shared Systems and Services, plus several consortium-wide updates. We hope you enjoy this edition of the BLC Bookmark News and we encourage you to reach out to Team BLC with any questions, comments, suggestions, or if you’re looking for ways to get involved.

Professional Development
Resource Management
Resource Sharing
Shared Systems and Services
Other Consortial Updates

Professional Development

BLC Forum: 174 colleagues from 24 BLC member institutions attended the 2024 BLC Forum at the University of New Hampshire on June 12, with many more tuning in online. With an energizing and inspiring keynote from Library Futures’ Director Jennie Rose Halperin, 22 member-led presentations, and 14 community meetings, BLC members enjoyed a day of robust knowledge-sharing, networking, and collaborating. Keep an eye out for our upcoming BLC Forum wrap-up—an overview of Forum presentations and content, complete with resources where available.

Webinars and Workshops: Since our April edition of the BLC Bookmark News, BLC has hosted three webinars and workshops exclusively for our members, including two OpenRefine workshops and a Lunch & Learn with GreenGlass.

Innovation Fund: BLC awarded three Innovation Fund projects last year. The 2024-25 Innovation Fund is now open! Please feel free to submit a proposal or reach out to Amahl McHenry for more information. 

BLC Leads: BLC welcomed 20 fellows to the BLC Leads 2024 cohort, representing 16 member institutions. Thanks to Trinity College for hosting the Leadership Institute!

Science Boot Camp: 52 colleagues participated in the New England Science Boot Camp for Librarians at UMass Dartmouth from June 26-28, including 12 sponsored registrations. This event was funded in part with federal funds from the National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health, under Cooperative Agreement UG4LM012347 with UMass Chan.

Upcoming Programming: Upcoming member-exclusive events include an Empowering Fair Use workshop, a Lunch & Learn session on Conifer, and a leadership series. To receive information about these events in your inbox, please ensure you are signed up for the BLC Announcements email group.

BLC Communities

New Leadership: BLC welcomed a new slate of Community co-chairs who will begin their two-year terms this summer. These new leaders bring fresh perspectives and energy to our membership Communities. We are still looking for co-chairs for several BLC Communities. If you are interested in co-chairing, please complete this form or reach out to Amahl McHenry.

Annual Community Reports: The co-chairs of the BLC Communities are preparing annual reports on their recent activities, helping the BLC team identify new ways to support collaboration across BLC’s membership. 

BIPOC Caucus: Jennifer Thom Hadley, from Wesleyan University, and Chay Reed from the University of Connecticut have stepped up to chair BLC’s formerly dormant BIPOC Caucus. The reinvigoration of this group is important to advancing BLC’s ongoing commitment to equity, diversity, and inclusion. If you are a member of the BIPOC Caucus, keep an eye out for communications about an upcoming meeting. Join the caucus here!

Technology COI Meeting: The Technology Community of Interest (COI) hosted its annual in-person meeting at the Boston Public Library (BPL) in April, featuring six member-led presentations and a digital preservation tour. Many thanks to BPL for hosting this event.

EDI Steering Committee:  In May, the EDI Steering Committee launched two surveys—one for BLC member institutions and one for member faculty and staff. They also hosted a well-attended roundtable at the BLC Forum. The Committee received over 300 survey responses from colleagues at BLC member institutions and plans to meet in August to discuss the survey results and start formulating next steps and recommendations. Thank you to everyone who completed the surveys!

Resource Management

E-Book Summit: BLC hosted its inaugural E-Book Summit, a core resource management initiative articulated in BLC’s Strategic Action Plan, on June 11 at the University of New Hampshire. Focusing on the landscape of consortial e-book programs, the summit goals included brainstorming about BLC’s e-book program, identifying foundational work required, and exploring topics such as E-Book ILL and strategy and innovation. Keep an eye out for our upcoming BLC E-Book Summit wrap-up.

Principles on Library Ownership of Digital Books 2024: BLC’s Executive Director, Charlie Barlow, contributed to the publication of a set of foundational principles on ownership of digital books, empowering libraries to build and maintain permanent digital collections. Use and download the ‘Principles on Library Ownership of Digital Books,’ published by Library Futures on their website.

Subscription Negotiations: BLC brokered new and extensible subscription offerings at competitive prices and renegotiated several existing subscriptions for 2024-25, including the continued growth of BLC’s E-Books Evidence-Based Acquisitions program with JSTOR and the renewal of BLC’s Group Services Agreement for OCLC products and services.

Resource Sharing

E-Book ILL Roadmaps: The E-Book Sharing Working Group released their final report: the E-Book ILL Roadmaps. This report outlines the different approaches to e-book interlibrary loan, including borrowing and lending roadmaps to implement DRM-free e-book ILL. The report also highlights future work required to make the practice more sustainable and adoptable in the broader resource sharing ecosystem. 

CDL Early Adopters Program: After engaging with the community, three member institutions expressed interest in the Early Adopters Program (EAP). Ultimately, none decided to participate in this implementation cycle. Interested libraries will have additional opportunities to participate in future implementation cycles. Our work on a CDL Toolkit to promote broader adoption of the practice and a CDL Summit to chart future directions for the service for libraries and consortia will continue throughout 2024-25, supported by our IMLS grant.

Partner Shipping Pilot: BLC launched its partner shipping pilot with a buddy system between member institutions both inside and outside of Massachusetts and Rhode Island state library courier networks. The pilot, running from June 1, 2024, to May 31, 2025, aims to lower consortial delivery costs. Participating institutions include: 

  • Bentley University
  • Connecticut College
  • Marine Biological Laboratory & Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution
  • Middlebury College
  • Northeastern University
  • Trinity College
  • University of Hartford
  • University of New Hampshire
  • Wellesley College
  • Wesleyan University

Rapido Development Partnership: BLC concluded its participation in the Rapido Development Partnership after six months of evaluation. Our members’ work provided valuable insights to inform future development directions for an ILS-agnostic solution.

Shared Systems & Services

Second Annual Network Zone Meeting: Forty representatives from five BLC member institutions gathered at Trinity College for the second annual Network Zone meeting in April. Over the course of two days, implementation teams collaborated to co-create centralized policies and practices in anticipation of the Network Zone going live in July 2024.

ELUNA: BLC sponsored a delegation of Network Zone Implementation Team chairs to attend the Ex Libris Users Group of North America (ELUNA) 2024 Annual Meeting in Minneapolis in May.

Other Consortial Updates

BLC’s New Website: In June BLC transitioned to a brand-new website! The site is now organized around our four core programs: Resource Sharing, Resource Management, Professional Development, and Shared Systems and Services

The new website is designed to be more navigable and intuitive. Changes include new resource sharing content, a members page linking to all-staff directories, public-facing Community pages, and sections dedicated to BLC’s strategic partnerships and priorities. We’ve removed the login side of the website to streamline access to community resources, programming, and recordings.

Perhaps the biggest change is the way you will register for professional development programs. You’re no longer required to log in to register for events. Instead, registration will be done via a form on individual event pages. We’re excited to enhance our ability to share knowledge, infrastructure, and resources at scale through this new platform. If you have any questions, please reach out to Amahl McHenry.

The BLC Bookmark: In April Team BLC introduced The BLC Bookmark, a quarterly email newsletter dedicated to keeping you up to date with BLC's latest news, projects, opportunities, and events. We hope this new communication tool will help keep our members well-informed and engaged with BLC activities. To ensure these communications are delivered to your inbox, please make sure you’re subscribed to the BLC Announcements email group.

Consortial Collaborations: BLC’s Systems Manager, Ben Ide; Resource Sharing Program Manager, Marc Hoffeditz; and Executive Director Charlie Barlow traveled to Anaheim, CA, to join consortial colleagues at the International Coalition of Library Consortia (ICOLC) North America meeting. Marc presented on BLC’s CDL project, and Charlie participated in a panel discussion about open-source resource sharing technologies, representing Project ReShare. 

Financial Operations: BLC is transitioning to, a cloud-based financial operations software. This move is aimed at streamlining our payment processes, making transactions more efficient and easier to manage. If you are receiving payment or reimbursement from BLC, please keep an eye out for communications from our financial team with instructions for setting up a account.

Stay tuned for more updates as we continue to enhance our services and collaborations in service of our member institutions and their communities.

About the author

Boston Library Consortium