June 8, 2021Melanie Schlosser
Intersections is an occasional series where community members reflect on what they are seeing in other parts of their professional world and what library publishers can learn from it.
By Amanda Hurford, Private Academic Library Network of Indiana (PALNI)
A conference icebreaker recently posed the question: How do you describe your job to someone who has no idea what it is that you do? For me, this can be a difficult question to answer since working for a library consortium falls outside the boundaries of traditional librarianship. So, when I describe what I do to someone who knows nothing of the world of library consortia, I typically say something like: “I work for a non-profit organization that connects people and works together to develop services at private college libraries across Indiana.”
My actual job title is Scholarly Communications Director for the Private Academic Library Network of Indiana (PALNI). For the last four years, I’ve been working to develop a scholarly communications community of practice by connecting with a group of engaged librarians across the 24 PALNI-supported institutions. We created a Schol Comm advisory group, led by a steering committee, and driven with the efforts of several work-focused teams administering programs for the consortium. Some specific projects have been developing an open source consortial institutional repository (Hyku for Consortia), establishing our group affordable learning program (PALSave), statewide digitization of scarcely held resources (PALNI Last Copies), and finally, operationalizing publishing services for the PALNI Press.
When I started this position, I was excited for a change of pace and to work at a statewide scale. As a former metadata and digital collections librarian, the concepts of consortia and scholarly communication were generally familiar to me. But it’s been a whirlwind of learning about the growing consortial involvement in that space, and a significant shift, for me, working so collaboratively in every phase of a project.
For library publishers, here are some important things to know about consortia: