Boston Library Consortium (BLC) and Eastern Academic Scholars’ Trust (EAST) are pleased to announce a significant milestone in their partnership. Effective June 1, 2023, Eastern Academic Scholars’ Trust (EAST) has successfully transitioned into its own independent 501(c)(3) organization incorporated in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
This transition marks an important step in the evolution of EAST, which has grown into a successful community-driven shared print program with more than 100 academic and research institutions across 15 states east of the Mississippi.
BLC has been EAST’s home since its founding in 2016, providing staff, administrative support, technical infrastructure, financial services, and general oversight for the past seven years. Members of the then BLC Board of Directors were instrumental in developing the grant proposals to the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and Davis Educational Foundation, which funded EAST’s initial organizational development, underwrote a portion of the collection analysis work, and fully subsidized the sample validation work that EAST undertook.
“EAST owes a debt of gratitude to the BLC, its members, and their staff for their service,” said Susan Stearns, Project Director of EAST. “Without the support, encouragement, and ongoing stewardship provided during EAST’s early years, we would not have been able to undertake the transition that has brought us to where we are today.”
John Unsworth, then at Brandeis University; Laura Wood, then at Tufts University; Patrick Carr, then at the University of Connecticut; and Tara Fulton, at the University of New Hampshire, all played key roles in EAST’s founding and early growth through their involvement as principals in the Mellon funded work. Library staff from 21 of BLC’s 26 member institutions have participated actively on the EAST Executive Committee, Operations Committee, and many working groups over the years.
By assuming greater autonomy, EAST will have the flexibility to dedicate resources to its established strategic areas of focus, including: supporting the collection building and management strategies of member libraries; ensuring flexible and sustainable pathways to membership; securing EAST’s organizational sustainability; and expanding opportunities for member libraries to contribute to the EAST collective collection.
Simultaneously, BLC will have increased capacity to empower its coalition of libraries in the northeastern United States to share knowledge, infrastructure, and resources at scale. This transition allows BLC to refocus on core strategic priorities outlined in its new strategic action plan, including: developing sustainable organization strategies, maximizing access to library collections, advancing an ambitious collections strategy, expanding professional development opportunities, and enabling access to high-quality shared systems and services.
“BLC is pleased to have played an active role in helping EAST launch into an independent organization,” said Charlie Barlow, Executive Director of BLC. “As EAST embarks on this exciting new phase, BLC reaffirms its commitment to maintaining a strong partnership and collaboration with EAST, leveraging our shared resources and expertise to benefit the entire library community.”
The Eastern Academic Scholars’ Trust (EAST) is a collaboration of 100+ academic and research institutions focused on protecting and preserving print scholarly materials. By comparing the print collections of EAST Retention Partners, a collective collection of unique, scarcely held, and frequently used book and journal titles is identified to be retained by the participating libraries.
The EAST Lending Network ensures these titles can be shared across the member libraries. For more information, visit eastlibraries.org.
Boston Library Consortium empowers a coalition of libraries in the northeastern United States to share knowledge, infrastructure, and resources at scale.
Founded in 1970, BLC’s strength lies in its diverse membership network of public and private universities, liberal arts colleges, state libraries, public libraries, and special libraries united by a commitment to champion innovation through collaboration. For more information, visit blc.org.