CLIC 40th Anniversary Lunch Presentation by Karen Harwood

December 1, 2009
A BRIEF HISTORY By Karen Harwood

Welcome to all of you, past and present CLICsters to this celebration of Cooperating Libraries In Consortium’s existence and success.

I am Karen Harwood a former member of St. Catherine Library staff and CLIC.  Out of interest I have been developing a timeline of historic events in CLIC’s past so Tom asked me to say a few words about CLIC’s past today.

In the 1970s I read three sentences written by the futurist, John McHale, that I want to share with you.

The future of the past is in the future.

The future of the present is in the past.

The future of the future is in the present.

My experience of CLIC is that it is a growing, adaptive organization which meets the challenges presented by change in order to fulfill its service mission.  CLIC as a formal entity was created by foresights and farsighted directors who recognized that their libraries could serve students, faculty and others better by performing some services in cooperation.  Those individuals were: Karlis Ozolins, Augsburg, Margaret Dewey, Bethel, Sr. Marie Inez Johnson, St. Catherine, The Rev. Clyde Eddy, St. Thomas, Glenn Offermann, Concordia, Herbert Johnson, Hamline, Jean Archibald, Macalester, and Russell Barnes, J. J. Hill Reference Library.

After a number of years of informal cooperation developing lists of materials, loaning resources, etc. in the 1950s and 60s they formally signed the document creating Cooperating Libraries In Consortium which the presidents of their institutions signed on April 14, 1969 and filed with the State of Minnesota the next day.

Funding for CLIC was based on fees from each library and some grant monies.  The initial budget was $11,485.  Funding has been and always will be a major factor in providing and supporting CLIC’s operations.  Acquiring grant support has always been a necessity for advancing our programs and services.

CLIC’s early home was a 7×12 room at the Hill Reference Library.  Stephen Plumb was the first coordinator of CLIC on a part time basis.  A courier service for materials delivery among the member libraries was established.  The use of a commercial delivery service came much later.

Over the years the mission and concerns of CLIC have remained basically the same: Collection development, Cataloging, Circulation of Resources—InterLibrary loan, Continuing education of staff and public.

Planning, program implementation, finance, and governance have been the focus of the Board of Directors.  In my twenty-eight years with CLIC I think I have been through three restructurings..  The focus has always been better communication and improved services among the libraries.  Committee names may change but the intent is the same.  Staff in CLIC libraries and the CLIC office have expended a lot of time and energy throughout the years to achieve what we celebrate today.

Some achievements:  Over the years a variety of cooperative collection development projects occurred generally funded by grants.  For example, the first edition of the Union List of Periodicals and Newspapers appeared in the fall of 1979 and trading of bound periodicals to consolidate runs took place.  A catalog of audiovisual materials purchased with federal grant funds was produced.  Today we have access to electronic data packages and e-books.  The current digitizing initiatives are once again expanding our collections.

In order to do collection development and provide access to our materials the catalog was a major focus of activity.  Discussion of a union catalog of books began in fall, 1969.  Shelf list cards were microfilmed and a single union card acatalog of 710,000 cards were filed into a motorized file at the Hill Reference Library.  Union catalog services began in April, 1971.  Phone calls from individual libraries requested the location of books which could then be retrieved from the holding library and moved by courier to the requesting library.  The service was funded by the Hill Family Foundation.

The next catalog step was the development of a machine readable database and from it a microfilm catalog.  Microfilm union catalogs produced by Brodart were placed in each library with the final version arriving in February, 1978.  The Board approved the dissolution of the Union Card File at the Hill Reference Library on April 28, 1981.

Introduction to and use of OCLC as a cataloging resource became part of most of our institutions cataloging operations in 1976-1977. Macalester began use of OCLC in 1979.

Automation of cataloging and circulation operations was on the horizon.

By 1982 CLIC experienced the shortcomings and expense of COM catalogs so an Automation Task Force composed of Technical and Public Services staffers was established in May, 1982 to make recommendations and prepare specifications for an automated library system. The first official meeting took place at St. Kate’s on August 11, 1982.  There were four subcommittees of the Task Force to gather information concerning needs and priorities for a Total Library System (TLS).

These were exciting and difficult times.  It was determined that a system would cost a million dollars.  The college presidents were enlisted to support library automation which they did.  Members of library staffs committed enormous amounts of time and energy to prepare the Request For Proposal (RFP). Consultants were used to provide advice and

guidance.  The Board used good documentation, ingenuity, persuasion, and perseverance to appeal to foundations for funding. All the effort resulted in the selection of Carlyle, Inc. as our vendor with their online public access catalog being the first part of the installation.  The contract was signed in May, 1987 and installation of the system began in July.  Macalester College became the central site for CLIC’s computer hardware.

The Board adopted CLICnet as the official name of our automated system in March, 1987.  The name was the first choice among  library staff members voting on the possible names.

The Carlyle OPAC was installed and many individuals and committees worked hard to make the system work.  By November, 1990, the unavailability of a working circulation module and other non compliance caused the Board to empower the CLIC Planning Committee to identify a vendor other than Carlyle that would be capable of providing a system that would meet the objectives of the automation project.  Once again CLIC was in planning mode.  We had learned many lessons so our planning and work with vendors was more expeditious.  The Board agreed in May, 1991 that Dynix was the vendor with the system that best met our requirements.  An agreement was signed with Dynix on October 15, 1991 and preparations for installation began.  Smart barcodes for collection s in preparation for an automated circulation module arrived in December, 1990.  Individual libraries had their own plans for barcoding their collections and they began to do so.  Study for acquisitions and serials modules began in earnest.

Keep in mind that at this time all CLIC meetings were held in various libraries. And the CLIC Coordinator was a half time employee until the arrival of Terry Metz as CLIC Manager in October, 1986.  After Terry’s departure the position of Executive Director was filled by David Barton, Chris Olson, Karen Docherty and not by Tom Nichol.

The Board recognized the impending need for more space and agreed to rent space in a house at 1457 Grand Avenue.  CLIC moved from the Hill Reference Library into the  new location in June, 1991.  CLIC moved again into the Richard Gordon Office Building in May, 1993.  By 1999, the CLIC office needed more space so the Board approved remodeling of the office in July 18, 1999.

Today the CLIC office staff coordinates and communicates the activities and efforts made by members especially the work of the Board and committees, keeps CLICnet functioning, and implements activities to achieve annual and long term goals.

Work began to purchase CLICnet III in 1999.  There was a kickoff event and then the RFP was mailed to fifteen vendors in December.  For this version a site team was added to the selection process.  Members from CLIC libraries went to various libraries to see vendors’ systems in operation.  Innovative Interfaces, Inc. was selected as the vendor for CLICnet III in May, 2000.  We continue to add improvements and functions to the ILS.  The Encore Discovery layer being one of the most recent.

From the beginning circulation rules and interlibrary loan of our materials have been at the forefront of out activities.  Policies for loan rules are created and revised.  Methos for rconciliation for lost materials and statistic collection are committee work.  Cooperation with other agencies such as MINITEX have a significant impact.  The twice a day delivery of materials by the courier service is one of CLIC’s most significant operations.

Especially in the 1990s policies and procedures for various library operations were written by the appropriate committees, the Board, and CLIC office staff.  As CLIC has grown the development of policies has continued.

Over the years CLIC has educated the people we serve.  Brochures explaining CLICnet, provision of a web site are examples.  In addition CLIC is the source of opportunity for learning new technologies, techniques, and leadership skills for our staffs.  The Reference and the Authority Control Communities of Interest are examples of committees that present workshops for their colleagues.  Generosity with expertise among CLICsters is ever present.

Today we continue CLIC’s tradition of celebrating.  In the early days it was an annual dinner. Later it was the CLIC picnic.  Now it is the annual lunch.  We have always had fun! A tradition that needs to continue.  So let’s renew our commitment to Cooperation and celebrate CLIC.  After all the future of the future is in the present and you are CLIC’s future.


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