Purpose & History

Purpose

The Boston Library Consortium [BLC]  leads in creating transformative 21st century member libraries by leveraging a shared platform of information resources, expertise and trusted relationships. It sustains strategic, cost-effective partnerships to achieve collaboratively what cannot be achieved singularly.

Value

Our collaborative resources and services provide a rich and sustainable environment supporting teaching, research, and the creation, dissemination, and preservation of knowledge.

History

Founded in 1970, the BLC today has 18 members, all research and academic libraries. The BLC includes large and small as well as public and private institutions.  And, while clustered around Boston, the BLC member libraries range geographically from Durham, New Hampshire in the North to Kingston, Rhode Island in the South and from the tip of Boston's Columbia Point in the East to Williamstown in Western Massachusetts.  The BLC recently modified its membership to support both Full Members, who are expected to participate fully in resource sharing and make their collections available through reciprocal borrowing to the other Full Member libraries and Affiliate Members.  Both Full and Affiliate Members are encouraged to participate in the full range of services and programs offered by the Communities of Interest.

The BLC is a collaborative partnership providing proactive, innovative, and cost-effective access to shared information resources, services, and expertise that allow its member libraries to best serve the teaching, research and scholarship of their parent institutions.

Collaborate

Collaboration is at the heart of the work of the BLC and key to its mission. While it manifests in many different ways, this collaboration takes two major forms: resource sharing and consortial collecting.

Connect

We connect across the member libraries and utilize our scale to the best advantage.  Staff at BLC member libraries participate in a variety of communities and work jointly to develop programming and professional development opportunities.  The Communities of Interest  [COI's] offer diverse opportunities for networking for members and often spawn working groups and initiatives that directly support the goals and objectives of the member libraries. 

Champion

The BLC also sees its role as one of championing and advocating for issues of importance to academic and research libraries, raising our collective voice to further our joint mission.  We work with other consortia and partners to providing programming and work through member groups such as the Open Access Funding COI to advocate for more effective models for scholarly communication.

Increasingly we see opportunities for the BLC to act as an incubator for projects and initiatives that further demonstrate the value of the academic and research library in areas such as shared ebook collecting, open access, scholarly communications, research data management, long-term preservation of the scholarly record, etc.

And with all of these, we look to leverage scale whenever possible both as a negotiating tool and as a way to increase the efficiencies of our efforts.

Organization

The BLC office is staffed by an Executive Director.  Governance of the consortium is provided by the Board of Directors that includes the dean or director from each BLC member library.  A subset of the Board forms Management Council, which works more directly with the BLC office on business and operational issues.  Academic and research libraries interested in joining the BLC can find detailed information here

Strategic Plan

In 2010, the BLC embarked on a strategic planning process resulting in a detailed 3-year plan.  This plan defined three major priorities that continue to guide the work of the BLC today.

Priority 1: The BLC will adopt a broader definition of resource sharing. This remains among the most important roles of the BLC and its importance is reflected in the recent formation of the Resource Sharing Working Group.

Priority 2: The BLC will help redefine the library’s role in scholarly communication.  The open access funding models community and its current projects are examples of the realization of this priority.

Priority 3: The BLC will help redefine the library’s role in the process of scholarly research.  The BLC's ongoing sponsorship of both the e-Science Initiative and its recent development of best practices guidelines for institutional repositories reflect the importance of this priority across the BLC member libraries.

Priority 4: The BLC will increasingly enhance its perceived value to its stakeholders through improved communication. The Board allocated funding for a new website for the BLC, which launched in September, 2014 and provides access for both BLC library staff and institutional users to more comprehensive and up-to-date information on the varied work of the consortium.

The BLC re-evaluates its strategic priorities on an annual basis as part of the Board retreat in June and works closely with the various BLC communities to ensure these priorities continue to guide their important work.