Purpose & History



The Eastern Academic Scholars’ Trust (EAST) is a shared print initiative across 60 partner libraries, primarily in the Eastern United States.  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.

EAST includes Retention Partners, libraries who commit to retain agreed upon titles in their local collections for at least 15 years and make them available to other EAST partners, and Supporting Partners, who provide additional financial support.  In June of 2016 EAST completed a large-scale collection analysis, working with Sustainable Collection Services® , comparing over 16,000,000 holdings of the Retention Partners.  After analyzing uniqueness and scarcity across the collective EAST collection, comparing EAST holdings to those of other libraries in the U.S. and non-EAST academic libraries in the region, and reviewing usage of the holdings, the EAST members have agreed to a retention model that will protect over 6 million holdings for the 15 year retention period. With the addition of a second cohort of Retention Partners, EAST is undertaking a similar collection analysis in late 2017 and anticipates additional retention commmitments being finalized in early 2018.

In parallel to completion of this collection analysis, EAST performed a validation sample study to confirm availability of the titles to be committed for retention and assess condition.  This study provides scholars with increased confidence that retained titles will be available for their use, even if no longer owned locally. In late 2017, the validation study will be replicated with a group of Cohort 2 libraries.

As the largest shared print initiative to date, this project will secure 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.


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 plenary meeting held in July, 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). 

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 off site shelving for local collections.

Formation and Funding of 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, helps 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 for two years of funding 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, for use over approximately two years, to support the development of EAST.  A kickoff meeting of the member libraries was held on June 22, 2015 at Brandeis University to formally launch the project.  Recruitment for EAST staff as well as the important collection analysis work with Sustainable Collection Services® commenced in July 2016.  The EAST project was fully staffed in October 2016,