Purpose & History

EAST Vision and Project Goals

Mission: To secure the print scholarly record in support of teaching, learning and research.
Goals: Maximize retention commitments and facilitate access.
In undertaking the work to achieve our goals and support our mission, we strive to embrace these values:

  • Collaboration and consensus in our decision making
  • Transparency and open communication with our member libraries and the larger community
  • Diversity and inclusivity in our membership and in our collective collections
  • Trust and respect for each other

The Eastern Academic Scholars’ Trust (EAST) is the collaborative effort of a large group of academic and research libraries to document, protect, and provide long-term access to their print collections. EAST directly addresses the growing need for academic and research libraries to ensure that print books and journals of scholarly value are not inadvertently discarded as libraries undertake necessary weeding and deselection programs to free up space for other library services. By ensuring that scholarly content across the libraries is retained locally on behalf of all EAST members, faculty, students, and scholars can have confidence that they will have access to these resources and that unique and valuable scholarly content is protected in support of teaching, learning, research and scholarship.

Quick Facts – As of January, 2024

Membership: 170+ Academic and Research Libraries EAST of the Mississippi, plus one State Library
Number of States:  15  (map)
Monograph Retentions:  Over 11 million holdings. Most retaining institutions in EAST have committed to retain from 6% – 38% of their collection for shared print
Journals Retentions:  Over 37,000 holdings registered in PAPR, representing over 25,000 distinct titles
% of Retained Titles with Digital Surrogates in HathiTrust or Internet Archives: 45%
Member Engagement:  3 quarterly webinars and 1 annual in-person member meeting
Member of:  The Partnership for Shared Book Collections and the Rosemont Shared Print Alliance.
% of national shared print collections: 43% (according to data in OCLC’s GreenGlass)

Retained Collections

History and Future Work

The Eastern Academic Scholars’ Trust (EAST) project grew out of a series of discussions among more than 100 college and university librarians facilitated by the Five Colleges Incorporated beginning in the summer of 2011.  In 2012, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation awarded Five Colleges an 18 month planning grant to identify needs and develop business models for such a shared print retention program. At the conclusion of the meetings held in July of 2014, some 60 libraries in New England, New York and Pennsylvania endorsed a set of recommendations to move forward with a shared print project, which they renamed the Eastern Academic Scholars’ Trust (EAST). Later that year, the Boston Library Consortium (BLC) agreed to become the fiscal and administrative host for EAST.

Late 2014: The BLC was awarded a contingent grant from the Davis Educational Foundation to underwrite a significant portion of the costs associated with the monograph collection analysis phase of EAST.  This grant, totally $400,000, helped subsidize the large scale collection analysis of monographs required for the EAST members to determine their retention commitments.

2015: In March of 2015, the BLC submitted a grant proposal to the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation  to begin the organizational development of EAST, undertake the large scale collection analysis and validation studies, and explore collaboration with other evolving shared print initiatives across the country.  In June of 2015, the BLC was awarded a grant of $995,000 from the Mellon Foundation to support the development of EAST.

2016: After years of research and coalition building, and with the support of the Davis and Mellon Foundations, the Eastern Academic Scholars’ Trust launched with an initial cohort of 40 libraries. Sustainable Collections Services (later OCLC’s GreenGlass service) is engaged to work with EAST on the group collection analysis.

2016-2018: In conjunction with the collection analysis and retention work and with funding support from the Mellon Foundation, EAST member libraries carried out a Validation Sample Study, which considered the age and condition of titles in the circulating collection as a data point to determine future retention decisions.

2017: Building on the successes of Cohort 1, 12 new libraries joined EAST as part of Cohort 2.

2017: EAST broadens its focus to include serials and journals, with half of the membership electing to become serials retention partners. Work in this area begins with a focus on titles which were scarcely held across the retention institutions, and our partner, the Center for Research Libraries, provides the collection analysis for this part of our work.

2017: With the new work on serials underway, EAST joins the Rosemont Shared Print Alliance to collaborate, guide, and continue building a collective collection of journal retentions across the US.

Late 2017/2018: As part of the completion of the Mellon Foundation funded work, EAST planned and hosted two summits on Shared Print, which drew over 40 participants across North America. The outcome of these summits was the formation of the Partnership for Shared Book Collections in 2019.

2019: Recognizing the desire of individual libraries to join EAST, we began offering a flexible participation option that allows either one or a group of libraries to join EAST at any point. EAST works with the Colorado Alliance of Research Libraries to offer their Gold Rush Library Comparator tool as an option for collection analysis.

2020: The Partnership for Shared Book Collections officially launches with seven founding members, including EAST. EAST’s retention commitments begin to be registered in WorldCat and, with assistance from the Executive Committee, EAST undertakes its first large scale program assessment.

2021: EAST registers all commitments in WorldCat making them available to both members and others for discovery in OCLC systems. New members include the University of Rhode Island, Lehigh University and Temple University, bringing EAST to over 80 members.

2022: EAST retention commitments top 10 million. The Massachusetts State Library becomes EAST’s first State Library. Planning for the next phase of collection analysis begins. Two consortia, University of North Carolina Libraries and VIVA (Virginia’s Academic Library Consortium) start the process of joining EAST.

2023: EAST becomes its own 501c3 entity, becoming a separate entity from its original fiscal host, the Boston Library Consortium. The previous EAST Executive Committee transitions to a Board of Directors as the governing body for EAST. With the addition of the North Carolina and Virginia consortia, EAST tops 100 members. Work begins on collection analysis for post 2010 titles and 2 supporting partners (Villanova University and Worchester Polytechnic Institute) become retention partners. 

2024: Work continues with 67 libraries on analyzing 2011-2021 titles. PASCAL joins EAST, along with the University of Delaware and Virginia Union University. EAST forms an HBCU cohort, offering collection analysis for four HBCU libraries not currently members. Susan Stearns, program director emerita, retires. Tina Baich is named EAST Director, starting in July. 

Future directions for EAST include continued growth of its membership, collaboration with other national and international organizations, additional collection analysis and a pilot digitization projects.

Page last updated on June 2024