IOWA ACADEMIC LIBRARIES: HISTORY OF A COOPERATIVE EFFORT
Norma Hervey and Dilys Morris
Foundations and granting agencies are usually very interested in investing seed money into programs and projects, funding that will expand their gifts in significant ways. The Association of College and Research Libraries chose to offer such opportunities to their Sections, Committees, and Chapters in 1988. Guidelines for the ACRL Special Grant Funds sought “unique and innovative” proposals which would promote the division and which demonstrated a significant impact on ACRL members.
The state of Iowa has over 500 public libraries, many special libraries, three regents institutions, a community college network, and some 40 private academic college libraries. In 1988, cooperative efforts were minimal. While cooperation extended beyond Iowa through national and regional groups, it was loosely structured within the state according to the type of library. A few interinstitutional agreements existed, but most libraries operated autonomously in the expectation of saving dollars. The State Library system, ICAN, did make it possible to borrow monographs without charges and a netlender program provided some support to the larger borrowers. The only delivery system was the U.S. Mail. The Iowa Union List of Serials did not include major holdings in the state. An OCLC User Group supported educational programs and discussions. There were slightly more than fifty libraries using OCLC. The University of Iowa, an RLIN library, did not have its collections available through OCLC tape loading at the time. The state librarian proposed an Open Access policy which permitted residents to borrow from any cooperating library. While a commendable program, it was difficult for research libraries in heavily populated areas to support.
It was at this point that Marilyn Moody, Chair and Patrick J. Wilkinson, Chair-elect of the state ACRL chapter applied for an ACRL Special Grant for a program, “Iowa Academic Libraries in the 21st Century: A Planning Retreat.” ACRL partially funded it and a planning committee was appointed to work with a facilitator to set up a two day retreat for the directors of academic libraries of all types. The primary goal was to gather together library leaders to develop a strategic plan to enhance academic library services. The committee reflected the intended participants, representatives of each regents institution, two private college library directors, one community college director, and a chapter ACRL liaison. Susan Jurow, at that time Associate director of ARL’s Office of Management Services, was appointed facilitator. With her guidance, the committee began an intensive year of planning.
The Leadership Retreat Coordinating Committee reserved the Conservation Education Center at Springbrook State Park for Nov. 2-3, 1989. ACRL funding covered the cost of the facilitator and other expenses. Participants paid their own expenses. The committee felt it was essential that there be balanced representation from the different types of academic libraries. They hoped to establish significant programs which required that library decision makers be present. As we were restricted to 32 attendees, it was decided to invite two representatives from each regents institution, five directors from community colleges, selected by their organization, and twelve representatives from private college libraries. (1) Other attendees were three ACRL Board members and the six members of the Coordinating Committee. Each participant received a list of topics to be covered and questions to be considered along with four scenarios written by the Coordinating Committee. These described future possibilities for Iowa’s libraries. The bleakest scenario offered essentially the level of cooperation then in place. A second enhanced the status quo. The third envisioned important progress in staff development and preservation programs and in resource sharing and networking with no charge to the end user, access to core databases and increased use of electronic journals. Librarians were to play a limited role in setting information policy issues. The fourth described libraries as sophisticated computer information centers staffed by information specialists and supported by new technologies in transmission of information and storage and preservation of resources. State-wide cooperation would allow enhanced services to all Iowans. Librarians would be major partners in teaching and shaping information policies.
Participants came to the retreat with a mixture of concerns about the expectations for the retreat and the future of cooperative efforts among Iowa academic libraries. A major concern was the impact of cooperation upon the workloads of library staffs created by increased demands for services such as interlibrary loan. There was a general feeling that Iowa libraries were behind in cooperative efforts. Concern was expressed about how increased cooperation would be coordinated, implemented, and maintained; additional concerns included the financial burden of cooperation, the impact upon existing services, and upon existing cooperative agreements and arrangements at local, regional, state, and national levels.
The prevailing attitude was that the time was right, politically, technologically, and environmentally, to begin this discussion. The retreat was seen as the vehicle by which this planning would begin, the place where ideas would be generated to develop a consensus or shared vision for the future, and an opportunity to become better acquainted with different types of academic libraries. The hope was to develop a “sense of community” and leadership to arise from the group to carry plans forward. A strategic planning process was used to develop shared goals and a future scenario for Iowa’s academic libraries. (2)
Establishment of the Cooperation Coordinating Committee (CCC)
At the conclusion of the Leadership Retreat, participants asked the Retreat Coordinating Committee to recommend a structure to continue the cooperative efforts just begun. In February 1990 the Retreat Coordinating Committee distributed to all Iowa Academic Libraries a copy of the Leadership Retreat report and a questionnaire. The questionnaire attempted to determine the cooperative interests of all Iowa academic libraries, the staff support available to move cooperation forward, and any preferences for a structure. The survey showed that interest in cooperation was state-wide and that directors would provide staff support. However, establishment of a structure to continue the process did not surface from the survey.
Thus the responsibility for establishing an ongoing body to continue the cooperative efforts begun at the Leadership Retreat remained in the hands of those who planned the retreat. At the spring, 1990 Iowa ACRL Chapter business meeting the Cooperation Coordinating Committee (CCC) and its Working Groups were formalized. Librarians volunteered to serve on one of four groups: Resource sharing, Communications/Networking, Preservation, or Staff Development. Separately the CCC set up a Funding Working Group and invited key library directors to serve on it. Members of the CCC agreed to serve as liaisons to each Working Group to facilitate central coordination. Membership on the CCC was formalized as follows:
Regents Institutions: three positions; Iowa Community Colleges: one position; Iowa Private Academic Libraries (IPAL): two positions; Ex-officio members: State Librarian of Iowa, ACRL officer.
Regents Library members were appointed by their library, the IPAL and Community College members by their respective groups, and the ACRL officer by the ACRL executive committee. Membership changed over the four years. New appointments were made, when possible from the Assistant Director and Director levels. Terms were staggered to maintain continuity. The CCC selected its own chair. (3)
CCC Purpose, Responsibilities and Funding
The Coordinating Committee identified, promoted, and supported Iowa academic library cooperation and coordinated the activities of the Working Groups. It served as a clearinghouse for Working Group projects which might overlap and was the central contact point for directors in respect to the activities promoted by the Committee. The Committee regularly reported cooperative activities at ACRL meetings and through periodic memorandum to library directors. The Coordinating Committee also initiated and maintained fact sheets on itself and each Working Group. The only additional group formed by the CCC was an Ad Hoc Committee to Review Academic Library Statistics Collecting.
The Coordinating Committee provided the nucleus for fund-raising in support of cooperation and served as the political entity to negotiate with library directors and other persons or agencies in furthering cooperative activities among the libraries. It engaged in informal on-going environmental scanning activities to anticipate potential areas for inter-library cooperation. Information gained and ideas generated were used by either the Coordinating Committee or passed on to the Working Groups for their possible development and implementation.
Close working relationships were maintained with the State Librarian, strengthening multi-type library cooperation in Iowa. Representatives of the CCC and its Working Groups actively participated in State Library planning initiatives. During the selection of a new state librarian, the CCC articulated to the Selection Committee academic library cooperation priorities and the importance of cooperation to Iowa libraries. The appointee, Sharman Smith, joined the CCC, working together to address library concerns.
The Funding Working Group raised $50 from each participating library to be used as seed money. These funds helped support a staff development workshop and a pre-conference at the Iowa Library Association Annual meeting. All other costs were absorbed by the libraries themselves.
Working Groups Membership and Responsibilities
The working groups reflected the key issues identified at the Leadership Retreat: Resource Sharing, Networking/ Communications, Staff Development, Preservation, and Funding. As nearly as was possible each Working Groups’ membership represented the full spectrum of Iowa academic library types and sizes. The liaison from the Coordinating Committee provided two- way communication. Representatives from the State Library joined working groups as the first non-academic library members. Gradually liaisons from other library communities became Working Group members. The Working Group chairs approved any such liaisons.
Membership of the Working Groups was determined by library director appointments and by volunteers who were ACRL members. Working Groups elected their own chairpersons and other officers for a specific period of time according to procedures agreed upon within each group.
The Working Groups developed, then promoted activities which furthered cooperation among libraries. They exercised great latitude in developing members’ ideas and interests in many cooperative areas. The Working Groups did communicate regularly their plans for major projects to the Coordinating Committee which then endorsed, advised, and/or gave limited funding assistance. Proposals to restructure the CCC Working Groups were initiated by the groups themselves.
CCC/Working Group Grant Endeavors
In January 1991 a Grant Steering Committee submitted a $350,408 two year grant request to the U.S. Department of Education’s College Library Technology and Cooperation Grants Program. The combination grant request sought funding for 27 Iowa academic libraries to enhance resource sharing opportunities through increased use of contemporary technology. The applicant group included community colleges, technical institutions, four-year colleges, and doctoral granting universities, including both public and private institutions. The funds were requested to allow 13 libraries to increase participation levels in OCLC, to tapeload into the OCLC database nearly 275,000 existing machine readable records from 15 libraries, and to assist 19 libraries to convert an additional 80,000 records. The grant represented the joint efforts of the Resource Sharing, the Networking/Communications Working Groups and the CCC. Although the request was not funded, it serves as an excellent demonstration of the success of Iowa academic library cooperation. Because of continuing cooperative efforts most of the libraries did expand their OCLC usage, and OCLC agreed to allow tapeloading of retrospective records at no charge.
As a way of concluding its cooperative efforts the CCC and the IREN Library Subcommittee (the group which superseded the Communications/Networking Working Group) planned a preconference at the October 1993 Iowa Library Association meeting in Ames. Entitled “Iowa Libraries & Information Technology: Today and Tomorrow,” this preconference examined the importance to Iowa’s economic development and educational systems of information technology and its access and management. It presented perspectives on the current and future role of libraries in the information age. It stressed the importance of library cooperation in providing services to Iowans and set the stage for greater technological interconnectivity among Iowa libraries.
Resource Sharing Working Group (RSWG)
As indicated by the name, the RSWG’s primary effort has been in the cooperative aspects of library work, i.e., collection development and management and the sharing of resources. At its meeting of January 25, 1991, RSWG laid the groundwork for a union list of recent and proposed serial cancellations. A survey of Iowa libraries was conducted; the first survey, July, 1989-June, 1991 was distributed to all academic libraries in the state. Results from 39 libraries contained 580 titles. The second survey, July, 1991-June, 1993 indicated cancellation of some 3000 titles by 40 libraries. Future steps include categorizing the cancelled titles and searching on OCLC to see if cancellations have resulted in diminished accessibility in Iowa and to share information about possible serial title additions.
Kevin Engel of Grinnell College presented to the RSWG a plan for a state-wide document delivery system based on courier systems used in other regions. Engel had surveyed all Iowa libraries to solicit indications of interest and received 100 responses. The RSWG supported the Engel plan and, by May, 1993, 37 Iowa libraries were participating in daily document delivery via the Pony Express courier system; the regents institutions, major public, and many private academic libraries have found the system offers both savings of dollars and improved service.
In addition to the Open Access program, Iowa’s State librarian instituted a Net Lender Reimbursement program with funding to support interlibrary loans between Iowa institutions without fees. This program was expanded by the current State Librarian to include modest payment for resource sharing for all participating libraries. The program was approved by the State Legislature in 1993. Goals of the RSWG, established in May, 1993 are:
**create an electronic network for all types of Iowa libraries using a seamless interface and providing access for non-automated libraries
**create dynamic and evolving databases which include holdings information, periodical indices, & full text databases
**cooperative programs which describe and publicize collection strengths, develop and promote strategies to meet economic challenges of building and maintaining dynamic collections, and share professional expertise as well as resources
**promote systems to deliver information and library materials which are timely and cost-effective
**articulate a vision of resource sharing to the public and to funding sources in an organizational structure which represents all types of libraries in cooperation with the State Library
**seek funding to support programs from all appropriate public and private sources
The RSWG presented an action plan to the CCC which was sent to the Iowa ACRL chapter and to the State Librarian to continue the momentum present in resource sharing. The State Librarian has appointed a study group to explore models for increased funding.
Networking/Communications Working Group
The earliest project of the networking group was to create a list of contacts at each academic library, but they soon expanded their membership to include a public library. INTERNET access through guest accounts at two universities was provided to interested libraries.
They also established an electronic Listserv Conference based at Iowa State University for Working Group members. Members joined the RSWG and the CCC in developing the Title II grant described earlier. They also initiated the formation of an OCLC Group Access Capability (GAC) and worked with the RSWG and BCR to expand multi-type resource sharing in Iowa. The working group sponsored an information session on Iowa networking issues at the 1992 Iowa Library Association conference.
Early connections were established with the academic computer organization, the Iowa Internet Task Force, resulting in a more formal relationship with academic computer center directors. From these groups grew the Iowa Research Education Network (IREN), incorporated as a not-for-profit corporation on August 31, 1992. Each academic institution has a library representative and a computer center representative. The Communications/Networking Working Group became the Library Committee of IREN. IREN is seeking to broaden its base to include area education agencies, schools, public libraries, businesses and hospitals. IREN continues to serve as a facilitator and provider of information. IREN has positioned Iowa’s librarians to play an active role in shaping Iowa’s networks of the future.
Preservation Working Group
Early discussions of this group centered on the need for a state- wide preservation plan and the need for education to heighten awareness of conservation needs in Iowa. The group sponsored a program at the fall 1991 meeting of the Iowa Library Association in which Lisa Fox from SOLINET provided both stimulus for further activity and a base for future activities. The group also distributed bibliographies on in-house repairs and bindings. Nancy Kraft from the State Historical Society joined the group in 1992. A mission statement was written with the following goals:
**initiate state-wide planning; **establish a permanent preservation agency; **enhance knowledge of preservation in the state; **promote state legislation mandating use of alkaline paper; **ensure that the state does not lose in-state access to important literary and other works.
The Iowa Cooperative Preservation Consortium (ICPC) was formed as a result of the efforts and initiative of this working group. Representatives from public libraries, area education agencies, state government, museums, county government, genealogical societies, and others interested in preserving documents are members of the ICPC. Nancy Kraft and the Iowa Historical Society assumed the role of fiscal agent. A final activity of the Working Group was an ILA 1992 preconference session on “Preserving Diverse Collections: Undoing Disaster.” The ICPC submitted a successful grant proposal to the National Endowment for the Humanities to carry on state-wide preservation efforts.
Staff Development Working Group
The Staff Development Working Group identified staff development coordinators in academic institutions in Iowa, conducted a survey to determine the primary needs in staff development, and successfully promoted academic staff participation in ILA’s 1991 spring meetings on staff development for para-professionals. A conference offered in February, 1992 on supervising student employees was so successful that it was repeated in October, 1993. To continue their work, the group successfully proposed to the ILA/ACRL Executive Board that they be established as an Ad hoc committee from January, 1993 until December, 1994. A standing committee to continue to support needs in this vital area was approved by the ILA/ACRL membership in 1995.
Ad-Hoc Committee to Review Academic Library Statistics Collecting
In August 1990 the Cooperation Coordinating Committee was invited to name a representative from Iowa academic libraries to a national meeting held in Chicago in October co-sponsored by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) and the National Commission on Libraries and Information Science. The objectives of the meeting were “to present and discuss a plan to expedite the collection and publication of biennial academic library statistics beginning in 1990; to present the software developed by the NCES to record and submit the data for libraries in 2-year and 4-year, public and non-profit private academic institutions in each state; to share information about different models for collaboration between the IPEDS Coordinators and the academic library representatives in a state.”
Following the Chicago meeting, the CCC initiated a meeting with Iowa IPEDS Coordinator, Keith Griner of the Iowa College Aid Commission, and the State Librarian, Shirley George, to explore ways in which Iowa academic librarians could improve collection and distribution of IPEDS data. All participants felt that much could be done to improve the quality and usefulness of the statistics. Concern was expressed for the many statistical reports produced by libraries and with the inconsistency of data definitions. It was agreed to form an ad-hoc committee to review statistics collected by Iowa’s academic libraries.
The CCC appointed a committee in September, 1991 with the charge to:
**compare the statistics collected by academic libraries in Iowa and to determine differences and similarities. Reports to be considered included those of IPAL, the community colleges, ARL libraries, and IPEDS.
**review IPEDS statistics for their importance in state-wide data collecting and for clarification of definitions and make recommendations to improve usefulness of report.
**recommend changes to improve statistics collected by each group.
The resolution of statistics questions on a national basis, an ongoing challenge, will be a valuable resource for libraries of all types. The CCC ad-hoc committee has been continued by the Iowa ACRL chapter.
The Cooperation Coordinating Committee and its and Working Groups were established in Spring 1990 as an ad-hoc committee of the Iowa Chapter of the Association of College and Research Libraries. The charge was to promote cooperation among Iowa academic libraries, and, by December, 1993, to propose a more permanent structure.
Throughout its tenure, the CCC encouraged the Working Groups to become multi-type and to seek a more permanent base for promoting library cooperation. Two of the Working Groups became multi-type cooperative endeavors affiliated with other state-wide organizations. All but one, the Funding Working Group, will continue to serve as a means for promoting library cooperation.
The Funding Working Group disbanded after raising funds from each participating academic library. It recommended that future fund raising or grant requests be delegated to the appropriate Working Group under the direction of the CCC. The unexpended funds raised by the Group were transferred in December, 1993 to the Iowa ACRL chapter to be used to support cooperative activities.
The Networking/Communications Working Group became the Library Committee of the Iowa Research and Education Network. The Preservation Working Group efforts and initiatives expanded into the Iowa Cooperative Preservation Consortium. The Resource Sharing Working Group and the Staff Development Working Group are to become standing ILA/ACRL committees.
The efforts of Working Groups are judged to be highly successful. Resource sharing achieved a new level of support and cooperation which now includes non-academic libraries, document delivery services, no cost to patrons, and ongoing development. Networking is on a threshold of seamless interface between institutional catalogs, online document delivery, and the potential for shared online resources. Iowa libraries on the Internet continue to multiply. Preservation of materials has achieved professional status and institutional support. Staff development is recognized as a crucial ongoing activity for all library employees in this era of changing technology and expectations.
In preparing this history it was often difficult to sort out which cooperative activities directly resulted from the CCC and Working Group endeavors and those which flowered in a new environment. There is no doubt that the ILA/ACRL Leadership Retreat created a rich atmosphere for Iowa academic library cooperation. The resulting Working Groups actively promoted multi-type library cooperation. The CCC, by inviting the State Librarian to join its efforts, created a bridge to non-academic libraries. A greater awareness of needs and the desire to support them grew. Issues were discussed on a broader, more informed basis. This cooperative venture was a propitious investment for ACRL and for Iowa’s libraries and citizens.
Appendix A: Participants
Cooperation Coordinating Committee (Initially: Leadership Retreat Coordinating Committee)
David Martin, University of Iowa, co-chair, 1988-1990
Dilys Morris, Iowa State University, co-chair, 1988-1990, chair, 1990-1993.
Mary Ann Bartz, Waldorf College, 1988-1990.
Shirley George, State Librarian, 1989-1992, ex officio.
Norma Hervey, Luther College, 1988-1993.
Patty Larsen, University of Northern Iowa, 1988-1992, 9-12, 1993.
Robin Martin, Central College, 1990-1993.
Roy Meador, Iowa Central Community College, 9/1992-4/1993.
Jill Miller, Kirkwood Community College, 1988-1993. (Representative of Iowa Library Association, 1992-93)
Wayne Rawley, University of Iowa, 1990-1993.
Darlys Shockley, Indian Hills Community College, 9/1991-8/1992.
Sharman Smith, State Librarian, 1992-1993, ex-officio.
Patrick Wilkinson, University of Northern Iowa, 1992-1993.
Networking/Communication Working Group
Phil Van De Voorde, Chair, Iowa State University, 1989-1991.
Jerry Caswell, Chair, 1991-1992, Iowa State University, 1989- 1992.
Dan Cates, State Library of Iowa
Bryan Davis, Cedar Rapids Public Library.
Doug Frazier, Southwestern Community College, 1989-1992.
Kathy Hays, Morningside College, 1989-1992.
Tina Herb, Kirkwood Community College, ???
Gail Hiebert, Simpson College, 1989-1992.
Teri Koch, Drake University, 1989-??
Carolyn Mann, Graceland College, 1989-1992.
Robin Martin, Central College.
Sue Morris, Wartburg College, 1989-1992.
William Sayre, University of Iowa.
Diane Shelton, Graceland College, 1989-1992.
Patty Larsen, University of Northern Iowa, 1990
Darlas Shockley, Indian Hills Community College, 1991/2
Roy Meador, Iowa Central Community College, 1992/93
In October, 1992, it affiliated with the Iowa Research and Education Network and became the Library Committee.
Preservation Working Group
William Stoppel, Chair, Drake University, 1989-91, co-chair 1992
Catherine Larson, University of Iowa, co-chair, 1992
Duane Fenstermann, Luther College, 1989-1992.
Ivan Hanthorn, Iowa State University,
Catherine Larson, University of Iowa, 1989-1992.
Gerald Peterson, University of Northern Iowa, 1989-1992.
Rebecca Stuhr-Rommereim, Grinnell College, 1989-1992.
Mary Ann Bartz, Waldorf College, 1989/91.
Jill Miller, Kirkwood Community College, 1991/92.
In August, 1992, it became the Iowa Cooperative Preservation Consortium with the State Historical Society of Iowa serving as the fiscal agent.
Resource Sharing Working Group
Marilyn Murphy, Chair, 1989-1991, Mt. Mercy College, 1989-1993.
Ed Shreeves, Chair, 1991/92; University of Iowa, 1989/93.
Elizabeth Kaschins, Chair, 1993, Luther College, 1989-1993.
Barbara Burn, Grand View College
Sandra Cary, Wartburg College
Dan Cates, State Library of Iowa
Cynthia Coulter, University of Northern Iowa
Janet Dellinger, Hawkeye Institute of Technology
Judy Jones, State Library of Iowa
Katherine Martin, University of Northern Iowa
Patricia Newcomer, Iowa Wesleyan College
Merrill Rees, Des Moines Area Community College
Gordon Rowley, University of Iowa
Wendy Seller, State Library of Iowa
Tim Skeers, Drake University
Mark J. Stumme, Drake University
Dilys Morris, 1989/90, Iowa State University
Norma Hervey, 1990/93, Luther College
Staff Development Working Group
Catherine Rod, co-chair, Grinnell College, 1990/91.
Pat Wilkinson, co-chair, University of Northern Iowa, 1990/91
Liga L. Briedis, co-chair, Drake University, 1991/92
William Black, co-chair, Iowa State University, 1991/92
Mary I. Beveridge, Drake University
Sandy Dixon, State Library of Iowa
Karen Dole, North Iowa Area Community College
Jane Kemp, Luther College
Eeva Nikkanen-Hoch, University of Iowa
Donavon Schmoll, Wartburg College
Sister Bernice Schuetz, Briar Cliff College
Barbara Weeg, University of Northern Iowa
Janet Wiener, Westmar College
Pat Wilkinson, University of Northern Iowa, 1990/93
In January, 1993, became the Ad Hoc ILA/ACRL Staff Development Committee; subsequently became a standing committee of ILA/ACRL.
Herbert Safford, Chair, University of Northern Iowa, 1990/91
Robert Chittenden, Hawkeye Institute of Technology
Sheila Creth, University of Iowa
Barbara Dewey, University of Iowa
Nancy Eaton, Iowa State University
Robin Martin, Central College
Norma Hervey, Luther College
In July, 1991, it dissolved itself and funding responsibilities were delegated to the Working Groups and the CCC.
(1) Each library director was sent an invitation with the information that only 12 could be accommodated but all would receive full reports and be invited to participate in any cooperative programs which resulted; early registrants were then accepted.
(2) See Appendix A.
(3) Many people contributed a great deal to this effort; names have been omitted for the most part from this history. An appendix listing the names of those who served is appended to this history.