Purpose & History



The Eastern Academic Scholars’ Trust (EAST) is a shared print initiative across more than 79 partner libraries, primarily in the Eastern United States, with the goal of protecting the print scholarly record and ensuring its availability for scholars, students and faculty.

EAST directly addresses the growing need for academic and research libraries to ensure that print monographs 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.

To meet its goal of protecting print scholarly titles and ensuring access to it, EAST has undertaken the following major initiatives:

  • Two large-scale monograph collection analyses to compare the holdings of the two Cohorts of libraries participating in EAST.  The result of these analyses has been to commit over 9 million monographs to retention across the participating libraries.

  • Ongoing collection analyses of the libraries’ serials and journals collections with the goal of retaining unique and scarcely held titles.

  • Two validation sample studies of monographs in the members’ collections to confirm availability of the titles to be committed for retention and to assess the condition of the items.  This study provides scholars with increased confidence that retained titles will be available for their use, even if no longer owned locally.

  • Development of operational policies and supporting documentation to support reallocation and replacement of titles committed to retention.

  • Ongoing work to support best practices in inter-library loan to ensure that scholars, faculty, and students at EAST member libraries have efficient and effective access to materials.

  • Collaboration and coordination with other shared print initiatives in North America through EAST’s participation in the Rosemont Shared Print Alliance for serials and journals and its leadership in sponsoring Summits on monograph shared print collaboration.

As one of the largest shared print initiative in North America, this work has secured a substantial portion of the scholarly record that is held in the United States and positions EAST as an important component of the growing network of shared print initiatives nationally.

EAST is a founding member of the Partnership for Shared Book Collections, a federation of shared print programs organized around a shared vision to "Ensure the long-term preservation of, access to, and integrity of monographic print resources."


History, Formation and Funding of EAST

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). 

In the fall of 2014, the Boston Library Consortium (BLC) agreed to act as the host institution for the EAST project with responsibility for staffing, fiscal oversight, and management of grant proposals and awards.

In 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. 

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.  

As of June, 2018, EAST has become self-supporting and is funded through annual dues of its member libraries.