Introduction to the Board

I met with the board on 4/23 and discussed the draft charge with them.

CLIC has existed since 1968. It started as a joint rolodex card catalog with a red phone to check the joint collection and a delivery van to move material among the members. The shared collection is still the primary benefit for CLIC members, students and faculty can have delivery of material within a day and are welcome to directly borrow from all institutions when they are on campus. There is an average of three duplicates/title among the eight CLIC institutions.

The collaboration among CLIC institutions does extend beyond the libraries: the campuses also share a circulator bus to move students around to shared classes at member institutions.

The library directors, who make up the CLIC Board, perceive CLIC as an organization that consumes a huge number of hours from the staff of their libraries. There are approximately 200 staff distributed though CLIC member libraries, and the cost in time for meeting and coordination feels prohibitive to some. There is a sense that "group decision making slows us down."

Some directors are now questioning the value of a shared catalog. Since 2000 the CLICnet catalog has been a III system hosted at Macalester. It demands intense coordination for what feels to some directors like a "lowest common denominator" result. Macalester itself has now embarked on an independent WorldCat Local refresh of its pubic interface to this catalog. For the past year a group called MART has been focussing on this discovery layer of CLICnet looking for ways to enhance it for all of CLIC.

The last strategic plan for CLIC was developed in early 2003 and resulted in a July 2003 document. The process involved the Board for two days, but did not engage their staff. The results were useful, but much of the plan remains unimplemented.

The Board is interested in something more comprehensive this time. They are expecting to spend closer to six months and they hope the process will engage staff at their institutions. They do not expect that the process will result in implemented new systems, but it should point the way to the healthy directions for CLIC to pursue. The Board has a draft charge for the planning process they anticipate.

I promised a proposal to the Board by their June meeting, though I said if I could pull one together by the May meeting (5/28) I would do so. I noted that I would probably involve a second consultant since this seemed to be as much about organizational issues as technical. They seemed OK with that.

Eric Celeste / Saint Paul, Minnesota / 651.323.2009 /