Wrapping Up ASERL's IMLS National Leadership Grant
From: John Burger (jburgeraserl.org)
Date: Fri, 21 Dec 2012 08:59:37 -0800 (PST)

ASERL Friends:


I am pleased to note that today we are submitting the final performance and financial reports for the National Leadership Grant that ASERL received from IMLS for our Collaborative Federal Depository Program (the grant period ended Sept 30, the reports are due December 31).  I don’t expect you to read the full report – with appendices, it’s 96 pages long – but here are some highlights:


·         Under the initial terms of the grant, we were to create two model “Centers of Excellence” (COE) collections (for WPA Materials at U-Kentucky, and Dept of Education materials at U-South Carolina).  The University of Florida quickly signed on as a third COE for Panama Canal Committee publications. Thanks to the leadership of Judy Russell, the program’s Steering Committees, and excellent program support from Cheryle Cole-Bennett, today there are three dozen libraries committed to creating COE collections for well over 100 federal agencies.


·         The three initial COE collections (at UK, USC, and UFL) have grown substantially as a result of the proactive “gap filling” activities that are part of creating a Center of Excellence:  The WPA collection has grown from 408 titles cataloged to 2,491 titles; the Dept of Education collection grew from 5,383 to 25,962 items (many on microfiche); the Panama Canal collection grew from 174 to 1,641, including a complete run of the “Panama Canal Spillways” newspaper.


·         Use of these collections has also grown significantly:  Reference questions about the DOE collection at U-South Carolina increased more than 200% during the grant period; the UK staff reported a marked increase in the complexity of questions for the WPA collection, and the Panama Canal collection at U-Florida gained enough prominence that they were contacted by the PBS show “History Detectives” to help track down materials for one of their episodes, and one item of their digitized content (the 1907 issue of the Panama Canal Record) has been downloaded 951 times.


·         We have developed two software tools (only one was promised under the grant) to streamline/simplify the disposition process for Selective depositories looking to find new homes for FDLP materials they no longer needed in their local collections.  The three initial COE sites were able to identify and fill more than 2,300 items that were gaps in their collections using these tools.  Many more libraries have also selected items for their FDLP collections using the ASERL tools.  There are more than 150K items currently posted on the disposition list available for selection.


·         On the money side, we spent all but $657 of the $328,329 we were awarded in federal funds.  We received contributed goods and services valued at more than $390K in cost-share – far above the $333K we had committed as cost-share for the grant.


·         As a result of all the focused effort by our member libraries and their FDLP partners in the region, ASERL was awarded the ProQuest/GODORT 2012 “Documents to the People” award in recognition of our leadership in improving citizen access to federal publications.


I’m not tooting my own horn here:  These successes are the result of years of good and thoughtful work from dozens of people who served on committees, hashed out best practices for implementing the desired projects, and examined long-standing practices and beliefs to create innovative ways for managing FDLP collections.  In particular, I’d like to thank Sandee McAninch (U-Kentucky), Bill Sudduth (U-South Carolina), and Chelsea Dinsmore (U-Florida) who served as the project’s Oversight Team for the grant.  The CFDP Steering Committee is currently chaired by Mary Clark at the Library of Virginia; her predecessors were Valerie Glenn (at the time at U-Alabama) and Sandee McAninch.  Other FCDP Steering Committee members are listed on our website.  The ASERL Deans FDLP Steering Committee is chaired by Julia Rholes (U-Mississippi) and previously by Judy Russell (U-Florida). 


It goes without saying that Judy Russell’s role in garnering strong support for this effort within ASERL and the documents community has been critical for our progress.  This program would look very different today if she had not brought her considerable influence to bear soon after she took the reins at UF. 


I’d also like to recognize the important behind-the-scenes grant management activities from our colleagues at LYRASIS – particularly Sandy Nyberg and Janice Marler --  who were instrumental in securing this award and establishing critical processes for managing the finances when ASERL was based in Atlanta.  Also, our colleagues at Duke University Libraries (particularly Jameca Dupree an Ann Elsner) have been helpful with the reporting needs since our move to Durham last year.  Thanks to Chuck Thomas, our Program Officer at IMLS, for help in finding answers to our administrative questions along the way.  There are also scores of other Committee and Task Force members who have (and continue) contributed important brain power to this effort – too many to mention here; we greatly appreciate everyone’s support in ways large and small.  And last but not least, the program’s Coordinator, Cheryle Cole-Bennett, deserves a hearty round of applause for keeping this three ring circus moving forward, despite some unexpected ups and downs during the life of this grant.


This program will continue to grow in 2013 and beyond.  We envision improvements to the software, recruiting additional COE libraries, and creating new partnerships with libraries/consortia in other parts of the country to find new and improved ways to manage these important collections.  We thank all of you for your ongoing support!  Happy holidays, all…




John Burger, Executive Director
Association of Southeastern Research Libraries
   Box 90182  /  411 Chapel Drive
   226A Bostock Library
   Durham, NC 27708
   919-681-2531 – telephone
   919-681-0805 -- fax


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