EAST, formerly known as the Northeast Regional Library Print Management Project, grew out of a series of discussions among more than 100 college and university librarians in the Northeastern United States facilitated by the Five Colleges Consortium 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.
There was a kick-off meeting for this planning phase in July, 2013 attended by 100 librarians from 72 libraries (see the meeting's agenda, presentation slides, and notes). At the conclusion of the plenary meeting held in July, 2014, 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 EAST – Eastern Academic Scholars’ Trust. These libraries agreed to three high level goals for EAST:
- to share stewardship of library print holdings to ensure more effective preservation of the scholarly record while recognizing that some individual institutions may need to take steps to alleviate space pressures
- to provide access and delivery of the shared materials to meet the needs of scholars, researchers, teachers and their students
- to provide information to support the needs of libraries for separate contracted offsite shelving for local collections.