CLIC “State of the Consortium” by Glenn Offermann 5/12/1976

A number of major cooperative processes are occurring so regularly and normally that, although they are taken for granted, these activities are helping to provide our patrons with a breadth and depth of library services that were but dreams a decade ago—and some not even that.  It is my belief that most of our patrons:

1.  Have come to expect to be able to obtain most any monograph they
want—if not locally, through CLIC or a CLIC connection.
2.  Are not terribly dismayed if a local item is “out” or “ missing” because
they presume a CLIC loan will have another copy for them in a
relatively short period of time.
3.  Have come to expect to have most any periodical article they may
Identify made available to them.

and all within a day or two or three at the most. Furthermore, expectations regarding AV materials are increasing and, to some limited extent, receiving satisfaction. Faculty members are even expecting the facilitation of computerized searching of major data bases.

These are not startling 1975—1976 developments. However, the continuing achievement of a Union Catalog Service, a courier service, and a union list of serials in conjunction with MINITEX should give us satisfaction, encouragement and determination to continue to strive toward greater benefits from cooperation.

In my judgment, the most significant trend or movement of the past year has been the increasing influence of forces outside of CLIC on our consortium activities. This is a trend which , I think, will continue to intensify and will have a significant impact upon CLIC’s future. How we as individual libraries and as a consortium handle our relationships with these “outside” forces and how successfully we identify and develop activities compatible with our kind of consortium—or fail to do so because of visible or imagined considerations—will likely determine the growth or demise of CLIC.

Again, this is not a 1975—1976 phenomenon. During our gestation period we were “outside” forces, in a sense, to each other. At our very birth, the Hill Library (forgive me Rus, Herman, and Walter) was an “outside” force in a sense. We’ve managed, however, to achieve a certain level of intimacy. I’m really talking about “outside” forces that have no intention of consorting with us and becoming a part of our intimate group. Rather, they are looking for us individually or as a group to join them in certain activities or organizational structures that have a relationship to what we are doing in our consortium activities.

The MULS development is an example. We had developed our own Union List of Serials. We cooperatively revised our retention options and holdings. We freely exchanged periodical run fragments. Then came incorporation into MULS—the influence of an “outside” force. I don’t purport that participation in MULS was inappropriate or any of the other “outside” forces for that matter. However, this changed the “periodical relationship” in CLIC and eliminated a consortium activity.

The Conversion Project (forgive me, Virgil) has almost become an “outside” force. This is ironic because I do not think that CLIC perceives the Hill Library as an “outside” force and I believe the records show that the Project Director has made many pleas for input and participation. Certainly there has been a sizable amount of discussion time devoted to the Project in CLIC meetings. Yet, somehow, conditions have developed where a “distance” of some kind has crept between the Consortium and the Project on some level.

The Council of Minnesota Academic Library directors is a major example of an “outside” force. It has had almost as many meetings as CLIC. Its objectives closely parallel those of CLIC. Its development of an OCLC network has introduced strains on CLIC activities and raised many questions about what activities are most appropriate at various organizational levels. The Kellogg grants are another prime example. MIDLNET may raise similar questions for CLIC.

I believe there are many activities that can be facilitated most effectively and efficiently at the CLIC level.  Some that CLIC should do something with, in my opinion, include:

1.  Completion of the Conversion Project—capitalizing on its relationship to other
2.  Automated circulation—again, its multi-goal aspects.
3.  Development of externally funded programs.
4.  Joint 16mm film collection.
5.  Increased AV material utilization.
6.  Cooperative acquisition programs.
7.  Cooperative withdrawal and storage.

I believe that CLIC is more important than ever for the provision of the utmost possible library service for our patrons. However, we can never relax and presume we have “arrived” at some stable “status quo” because from within or without, the situation will be changed. May CLIC have the wisdom and the courage to remain viable.


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