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Boston Library Consortium

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Boston Library Consortium, Inc.
Boston Library Consortium logo.png
Type501(c)(3), charitable organization
Area served
New England
Key people
Charlie Barlow (Executive Director)
US$672,000 (2017)[1]

The Boston Library Consortium (BLC) is an academic library consortium based in the Boston area with nineteen member institutions across New England.


The Boston Library Consortium is an academic consortium of nineteen institutions: fifteen in Massachusetts, two in Connecticut, one in New Hampshire, and one in Rhode Island. Member institutions are a mix of liberal arts colleges, research universities, public and private institutions, and special libraries. New members may join the BLC if they are based in the northeastern United States, preferably New England, and their application is approved by a two-thirds vote of the Board of Directors. The BLC is funded through membership dues. As of 2017, institutional membership fees ranged from $20,000 to $24,000 per year, plus an equivalent one-time fee. Affiliate members contributed a flat $6,500 per year.[2]


Current members include the following institutions:[3]


The BLC was founded in 1970 and officially incorporated in 1977, consisting originally of five institutions. It had grown to twelve institutions by 1993, seventeen by 2014, and nineteen by 2019. Former members include Boston Public Library and Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).[4] The BLC is administered by an Executive Director and governed by a Board of Directors. Each member library of the BLC is represented on the Board by the chief librarian of its principle library. Per its bylaws, the BLC's purpose is "to share human and information resources so that the collective strengths support and advance the research and learning of the members’ constituents."[5]


Major BLC areas of activity include resource sharing and professional development. The BLC runs a "BLC Leads" program to foster leadership development among member library staff,[6] a reciprocal borrowing agreement through which faculty and other patrons affiliated with any member library can borrow materials for free from other member libraries,[7] a shared virtual catalog and rapid delivery of materials between libraries to fulfill patron requests,[8] cooperative purchasing of scholarly resources,[9] and hosting of communities of interest to foster discussion and collaboration among member libraries.[10] Past activities included cooperative collecting and sharing of materials in select subject areas, such as women's studies.[11]

In 2007, the BLC partnered with the Open Content Alliance (OCA) to digitize BLC member libraries' out-of-copyright print collections and make them freely available online via the Internet Archive.[12] To fund the effort, the BLC pledged more than $845,000 over two years.[13] This partnership made the BLC the first large-scale consortium to embark on a self-funded digitization project with the OCA.[14]

In 2014, the BLC, along with the Orbis Cascade Alliance and other groups, pushed back against a publisher price increase on e-books, which they feared would negatively impact academic library budgets.[15]

Since 2014, the BLC has administered the Eastern Academic Scholars' Trust (EAST), a collective collections initiative across sixty-five academic libraries throughout the eastern United States.[16] EAST member libraries have committed to retaining over six million volumes.[17] EAST's goal is "preserving the print scholarly record and ensuring its availability for scholars, students and faculty." Under BLC auspices, the EAST initiative received startup grants totaling $1.5 million from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and the Davis Educational Foundation in 2014-2015. As of 2018, EAST is self-supporting through institutional membership fees.[18]


  1. ^ "2017 Return of Organization Exempt From Income Tax (form 990)" (PDF). BLC (Public Inspection Copy). 11 May 2016. Retrieved 11 December 2019.
  2. ^ "Membership in the BLC" (PDF). Boston Library Consortium. Retrieved December 11, 2019.
  3. ^ "Members". Boston Library Consortium. Retrieved December 11, 2019.
  4. ^ Walsh, Jim (1993). "Effective Library Networking: Local Depository Networks". Administrative Notes: Newsletter of the Federal Depository Library Program. 14 (18): 12–13 – via GPO.
  5. ^ "Bylaws". Boston Library Consortium. March 14, 2014. Retrieved December 11, 2019.
  6. ^ "BLC Leads". Boston Library Consortium. Retrieved December 11, 2019.
  7. ^ "Consortium Card". Retrieved December 11, 2019.
  8. ^ "The Boston Library Consortium and RapidR: Partnering to Develop an Unmediated Book Sharing Module". Library Science and Administration: Concepts, Methodologies, Tools, and Applications. Hershey, PA: IGI Global. 2018. p. 716. ISBN 9781522539148.
  9. ^ "E-Resource Licensing". Boston Library Consortium. Retrieved December 11, 2019.
  10. ^ "Communities". Boston Library Consortium. Retrieved December 11, 2019.
  11. ^ Soete, George J. (August 1998). "Collaborative Collections Management Programs in ARL Libraries". ARL SPEC Kits. 235: 33. hdl:2027/mdp.39015042760267.
  12. ^ Free, David (November 2007). "Boston Library Consortium and Open Content Alliance to provide digitized books". College & Research Libraries News. 63 (10): 624–25. doi:10.5860/crln.68.10.7886.
  13. ^ Hafner, Katie (October 22, 2007). "Libraries Shun Deals to Place Books on Web". New York Times: A1, A18. ProQuest 433697758.
  14. ^ Albanese, Andrew (October 15, 2007). "BLC, OCA Join in Digitization Effort". Library Journal. 132 (17): 15–16. ProQuest 196830139.
  15. ^ Wolfman-Arent, Avi (June 16, 2014). "College Libraries Push Back as Publishers Raise Some E-Book Prices". The Chronicle of Higher Education. Retrieved December 11, 2019.
  16. ^ Kraft, Bob (November 2016). "Curating Collective Collections--Protecting the Scholarly Record: Shared Print at Scale". Against the Grain. 28 (5): 88–91.
  17. ^ "A library without books? Universities purging dusty volumes". The Seattle Times. 2018-02-09. Retrieved 2019-12-11.
  18. ^ "Purpose & History". Eastern Academic Scholars' Trust. Retrieved December 11, 2019.

External links

This page was last edited on 9 July 2020, at 18:29
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