Information on EAST

For the latest information on EAST please go here.

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 future grant proposals and awards. A major component of the project will be an analysis of monograph holdings across the libraries who agree to make a firm commitment to EAST. This analysis will determine overlaps in monographic holdings of the retention partners as well as identify items that are infrequently used. The BLC and Lizanne Payne, a nationally recognized expert on print retention agreements who has been engaged as a consultant to the EAST project since its inception, are in discussions with Sustainable Collection Services to undertake this collection analysis. Over the next few months, the BLC is working to formalize commitments from Northeast libraries who wish to participate in EAST as the first cohort in the collection analysis process and act as retention or supporting partners for the project as well as ensure the necessary grant funding is in place to move EAST forward by mid-2015. If you are interested in further information on EAST or in joining the project, please contact the Executive Director of the BLC. The BLC website will continue to update with information on the EAST Project at the following websites https://www.blc.org/ and https://www.blc.org/east-project .

Mission and Founding Vision for EAST (formerly Northeast Regional Library Print Management Project)

The mission of EAST is to assure scholars (faculty members and students) in the Northeast of the United States the widest possible access to the scholarly record of print monographs and print journals and serials through multi-library collaborative arrangements that ensure that copies of even less frequently used materials are retained in sufficient numbers to be readily available to meet the needs of library patrons.  Though electronic copies of these materials are increasingly available and conveniently meet the needs of many patrons, the occasional need for access to print copies of infrequently used materials requires collaborative arrangements among libraries to ensure that separate collection management decisions reached by the libraries do not eliminate holdings of infrequently used materials to the detriment of scholarly needs. Such collaboration on print management also widens the access for scholars from all participating libraries to the uncommon items in certain library collections which the participating libraries are willing to share.


(the current EAST governing board is described at the following website: here.)

Bryn Geffert, Amherst College
Susan Stearns, Boston Library Consortium:  Project Director
Clement Guthro, Colby College
W. Lee Hisle, Connecticut College
Bart Harloe, ConnectNY
Neal Abraham, Five Colleges, Incorporated
Terry Snyder, Haverford College
Christopher Loring, Smith College
Peggy Seiden, Swarthmore College
Laura Wood, Tufts University
Scott Kennedy, University of Connecticut
Jay Schafer, University of Massachusetts Amherst
Ian Graham, Wellesley College

Project Consultant: Elizabeth Payne

(last updated:  October 2, 2015) 

Work accomplished from December 2014 to August 2015 and plans for 2015-16  (see the BLC EAST website for the latest updates and details):

    December:    Gathering firm commitments for libraries to participate in the first phase of EAST and to pay the corresponding fees

     January:  Submission of the next draft of the proposal for support of EAST to the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation                                     

     February:   BLC submits the final version of the proposal to the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation

     June:   Award of the Mellon grant

                   Formal launch of EAST

                   Advertise for the supplemental BLC staff positions for EAST

                   Advertose amd Interview for the two EAST positions

                   Signing of collection analysis contract and launch of associated work

                   Billings by BLC for collection analysis fees and first annual membership fees

     August:  Election of the Executive Committee – governing body -- from among those making a firm commitment to participate.

     September/October:   New EAST employees start work.

     Fall 2015: 

                     Convening of working groups to develop

                                       Governance agreements and EAST policies

                                       Draft Retention agreements

                      Launch of the journal retention partner discussions.



Latest NEWS:

1)  Based on its review of several proposals, the Project Steering Committee has selected a vendor for the monograph collection analysis and is negotiating the detailed scope of work and price.   The plan is to efficiently incorporate data analyses recently completed by the same vendor of member campuses and then to coordinate retention agreements for EAST with already exisiting retention agreements amoung such groups in the region as Main Shared Collections, ConnectNY, and PALCI.

2)  The Project Steering Committee for the planning grant has selected the Boston Library Consortium to serve as the host for EAST operations and future employees.  Susan Stearns, Executive Director of the BLC has joined the EAST Steering Committee and will serve as Project Director.  Contact information: email:  sstearns@blc.org and phone: 617-262-6244.  

3)  The Project Steering Committee for the planning grant has agreed to serve as the Interim Executive Committee for EAST until the governance documents have been completed and the membership of EAST has been formalized to elect members of the Executive Committee (planned to have most members selected from retention partners).   

4) Grant proposals have been submitted for $1.4 million in funding to subsidize the initial monograph collection analysis costs and to subsidize initial operating costs.  The Davis Educational Foundation has approved the requested award of $400,000 to subsidize the cost of the initial monograph collection analysis with the grant conditioned on firm commitments from participating libraries and on the award of requested support from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation (to support both collection analysis costs and initial operating costs during the start-up phase).  The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation has awarded about $1 million to support the first few years of EAST operations.

5) Sixty libraries agreed they were sufficiently interested in EAST that they were willing to participate in the cohort of libraries working to finalize the planning for EAST.  If you are interested in joining these discussions over the next 12 months, contact Susan Stearns, sstearns@blc.org.  The original deadline for joining the first cohort was September 22, 2014.  Until we reach a critical turning point for organizing the next set of activities (estimated to be about June 2015, other expressions of interest in participating, or firm commitments to participate in this phase of EAST are welcome.   See the "firm commitment" form at the top of this page.

Libraries that agreed to participate in planning for EAST:

Adelphi University, NY
Amherst College, MA
Assumption College, MA
Bangor Public Library, ME
Bard College, NY
Bates College, ME
Bentley University, MA
Boston College, MA
Boston University, MA
Bowdoin College, ME
Brandeis University, MA
Bridgewater State University, MA
Brown University, RI
Bryn Mawr College, PA
Colby College, ME
Colby-Sawyer College, NH
Colgate University, NY
Connecticut College, CT
Dartmouth College, NH
Elms College, MA
Fairfield University, CT
Fitchburg State University, MA
Five Colleges, Incorporated, MA
Hamilton College, NY
Hampshire College, MA
Haverford College, PA
Hobart & William Smith Colleges, NY
Lafayette College, PA
Le Moyne College, NY
Maine InfoNet, ME
Maine State Library, ME 

Massachusetts Institute of Technology, MA
Middlebury College, VT
Mount Holyoke College, MA
Northeastern University, MA
Phillips Exeter Academy, NH
Portland Public Library, ME
Sage Colleges, NY
Saint Anselm College, NH
Siena College, NY
Skidmore College, NY
Smith College, MA
Swarthmore College, PA
The University of Maine, ME
Trinity College, CT
Tufts University, MA
Union College, NY
University of Connecticut, CT
University of Massachusetts Amherst, MA
University of Massachusetts Boston, MA
University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, MA
University of Massachusetts Lowell, MA
University of New Hampshire, NH
University of Rochester, NY
University of Southern Maine, ME
Vassar College, NY
Wellesley College, MA
Wesleyan University, CT
Westfield State University, MA
Worcester Polytechnic Institute, MA
Yeshiva University, NY

including the following consortia which already have local print management/retention agreements:

Five Colleges, Incorporated, MA,
Maine Shared Collections Strategy, ME,
Brown, RI - Darthmouth, VT
Tri-College Library Consortium, PA;

and 10 of the 18 members of
ConnectNY, NY.

 6)  Subsequently a subset of these libraries made formal commitments to join the first cohort of EAST.

Other Recent NEWS:

1)  The summer 2014 meeting for representatives of interested libraries to hear the results of the work on this project, to discuss the proposals, and to explore next steps for collaborations was held at the University of Massachusetts Amherst (in room 163C -- lower level) on July 17, 2014.  Eighty-two librarians representing over 140 libraries attended.  Slides from the presentations at the meeting and notes on discussions at the meeting have been posted on the "Summer 2014 Meeting" tab on the left side of this page.

Earlier NEWS:

2)  The working groups finished their tasks at the end of March 2014.  Summary notes from their meetings and conference calls are posted under the links to the "working groups."

3)  Following the completion of efforts by the working groups, a Summarizing Panel met on April 22 at UMass Amherst to consolidate the recommendations from the 3 working groups into a single planning document. Representatives from each working group joined the members of the Project Team for this meeting as follows:

  • Monographs: Pat Tully (Wesleyan) and Clem Guthro (Colby);
  • Journals: (Peggy Seiden (Swarthmore) and Matthew Revitt (Maine project);
  • Offsite Shelving: Terry Simpkins (Middlebury) and Jay Schafer (UMass);
  • Project team: Neal Abraham (Five Colleges), Chris Loring (Smith), Lizanne Payne (Consultant) and Mary Behrle (Project Coordinator).

    The summary document is posted in the section of this website "Summer 2014 meeting" (see left navigational menu).


Since the focus of our work has been to ensure the preservation in the "region" of access to less frequently used print materials (both monographs and journals) that are critical to academic work of faculty members and students, we are toying with the idea that any projects and collaborations that are launched as a result of this project should be under the umbrella name of Eastern Academic Scholars' Trust (EAST).

Colleges and Universities in the Northeast are invited to join us in exploring needs and possible solutions to the management of lesser used monograph print collections for higher education libraries in the Northeast.  90 libraries already are participating.  To join us, email contact information for your library's director to Neal Abraham (nabraham@fivecolleges.edu).  The goal for the project is to identify libraries with common needs and shared interest in regional print management solutions that address these needs.

This 18-month planning effort, funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, requires agreement to review solutions (including business models) that will be identified by working groups and to indicate which, if any, of the proposed solutions would be seriously considered by your institution.

Libraries that agreed to participate by July 2, 2013 were invited to send up to two representatives to a first meeting and the library director was invited to participate, or have representatives participate, in one or more of the working groups addressing topics or proposed solutions of greatest interest to that library’s needs that will be identified at the kick-off meeting.  Those not participating in the working groups and others who have joined since are invited to monitor the work of the project. The first meeting has been held: an all-day kick-off meeting on July 9, 2013 at the Yiddish Book Center in Amherst, Massachusetts (100 librarians attended representing 72 libraries).  The second meeting will be held on July 17, 2014 at the University of Massachusetts Amherst to review the work of the working groups and draft plans of action for interested libraries for different forms of joint action; all participating libraries will be invited to send representatives to the second meeting.

Results of the kick-off meeting (agenda, attendees, meeting notes) are posted under the link "Kick-off Meeting July 9."  

If you have questions about the project, please contact: EAST Project Director
Susan Stearns
Executive Director
Boston Library Consortium:  

10 Milk Street, Suite 354
Boston, MA  02109
office: 617-262-6244
cell: 617-584-7884


Northeast Regional Library Print Management Planning Project

Project Steering Committee:

Bryn Geffert, Amherst College
Clement Guthro, Colby College
W. Lee Hisle, Connecticut College
Bart Harloe, ConnectNY
Neal Abraham, Five Colleges, Incorporated: Project Director
Matthew Sheehy, Harvard University
Terry Snyder, Haverford College
Christopher Loring, Smith College: Project Director
Peggy Seiden, Swarthmore College
Laura Wood, Tufts University
Scott Kennedy, University of Connecticut
Jay Schafer, University of Massachusetts Amherst
Ian Graham, Wellesley College



This will be an 18-month planning activity to collect information about libraries’ interest in shared storage of print materials (what to share, how to share), to develop or adapt an existing business model or models for managing one or more regional print collections of monographs (and serials and journals if there is interest in the latter) and, finally, to confirm willingness of various libraries to participate in one or another of the developed models. Together the Project Directors and project’s Steering Committee members represent two dozen college and university libraries in the Northeast. We will convene other leaders in our region for in-depth discussions of options for localized and distributed strategies for shared storing of library print materials.



Five Colleges, Incorporated (FCI), the consortium of Amherst, Hampshire, Mount Holyoke and Smith colleges and the University of Massachusetts Amherst is the fiscal agent for this project.  Predating FCI (and Hampshire College), in 1951 the Librarians of the “Four Colleges” founded the Hampshire Inter­Library Center (HILC), one of the oldest library consortia in the country, to acquire and maintain a specialized, shared collection of journals and reference material. Today, the Five College Librarians Council (FCLC) focuses on collaborative efforts to improve access to scholarly resources for the Five College community. The FCLC manages the Five College Library Depository, which houses 530,000 de-duplicated print volumes of scholarly journal backfiles (of items now available in full-text online) and little-used monographs; the shared Depository collection allows each of the libraries to maintain shared access to print resources for their patrons while freeing up library space at each institution for more current materials and contemporary uses (such as more space devoted to learning communities).  There are more than 180 Affiliate Library members of the Five College Library Depository (see https://www.fivecolleges.edu/libraries/depository).

The proposed planning project will build on our efforts over the last eighteen months to promote conversations about shared print management and storage among Northeast regional college and university librarians. In July 2011, the Five College Librarians convened a meeting of librarians from the Northeast to discuss options for shared regional action on print management, including possibilities of a shared repository/depository (centralized or dispersed). The meeting drew 45 participants, including direct representatives from 34 separate libraries as well as representatives from Five Colleges, Incorporated, ConnectNY, the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners, Ithaka, the Center for Research Libraries Global Resources Network, the Massachusetts Library System, and the Boston Library Consortium. Lizanne Payne was the keynote speaker on "Emerging Regional Efforts for Shared Print Management," offering insights on various shared print programs, on developing a national shared print infrastructure, and on issues related to planning regional shared print programs. On the last topic, she spoke about operating plans, administrative plans, key features, ownership and retention options, access, and business models. She illustrated her points with a detailed analysis from her experience with the Western Regional Storage Trust (WEST) print initiative.

The rest of the day-long meeting was devoted to discussions of the wide-ranging needs and preferences for future options for the libraries represented by the attendees. Needs ranged from simply reducing costs of storage space for print collections to gaining access to a wider set of unique print resources held by other libraries. Some attendees were interested in shared storage for less-used special collections and archival materials, though most saw these collections as items most likely to be retained on the owning campus. Desired options included proprietary storage for some libraries and shared de-duplicated collections of print copies of journals for others.

More ambitious discussions at our July 2011 meeting focused on the question of how to best create storage models for monographs, for which the issue of de-duplication of holdings would require complex decision-making across a variety of editions and respect (or not) for marginalia, along with considerations of achieving duplication of each holding at different regional sites across the country. Some attendees favored the creation of a larger, shared accessible depository of jointly-owned monographs along the lines of the current Five College Library Depository (which presently has over 180 affiliate members); others were more interested in preservation through a dark archive; yet others favored a model of a dispersed collection of separately owned materials with commitments to preservation for the good of the collective.

To continue the conversation, we held a conference call on August 21, 2012 with 15 participants. Our goal was to design a series of regional conversations that would lead to an inventory of needs and interests in paying for one or more shared print management approaches. We found considerable diversity of experience and resources among our group. Several participants pointed out that they already have facilities (Colby, Harvard, Yale) and others indicated they are planning new construction. Some are leasing space from National Library Relocations in Three Rivers, MA, while others are already Affiliates of the Five College Library Depository. Among us are some most interested in widening their access to unique print collections and others most interested in minimizing duplication in a shared print resource of less-used materials. While some participants expressed interest in joint ventures for proprietary storage, more are seeking coordinated print collection management with wider access to unique materials. There is continuing need at some institutions for solutions to house print editions of professional journals now available electronically as back-up (along the distributed model of WEST or the mix of distributed and centralized collections of the Five College Library Depository), and this approach might meet other pressing needs of the libraries if it were expanded to include serials of other sorts, such as back runs of reference materials.

Finally, we see a high level of interest for continuing these conversations -- an interest that is shared by many schools, large and small, with depositories and without -- throughout the Northeast, as well as eagerness to address the management of monograph collections. Many participants are of the opinion that the work involved in developing a strategy for a shared collection, perhaps through a distributed depository/repository system of management of unique monographs, would be most useful in advancing the national conversations about this challenging collection issue. Our conversations turned at several points to discussing how our work together might complement the work and models developed at WEST and the Print Archive Network for other materials, and of the Hathi Trust Digital Library. Work remains to continue these discussions, conduct internal surveys of needs and collaborative interest, and link the findings from those surveys to viable business models.


Rationale for this particular Project

Though acquisitions in most contemporary college and university libraries are now 80% electronic resources, libraries continue to add certain new print materials which are accumulating faster than older materials are being de-accessioned, and, as well, libraries need strategies to ensure access to back-up print copies of items available electronically. Library directors, under pressure to expand facilities to accommodate print materials and to serve more and different user communities, have recognized that a solution might lie in coordinated rather than duplicative preservation of back-up print copies. In our prior samplings of interest we found that most of the libraries in our region are interested in sharing efforts in management and storage of lesser used monographic print resources, but their separately-defined needs (at least from their preliminary thinking) span the gamut from developing a centralized or dispersed shared collection to inexpensive proprietary storage. The greatest challenge to solving this problem is defining the distinct groups with particular interest in one or more elements of a collectively managed collection of monographs. A grant at this time will facilitate developing an inventory of institutional needs and institutional interests in certain of the possible solutions. From among those interested in each solution, we will form working groups to develop refined strategies that serve the widest possible range of participants. This work will then allow groups of institutions that are interested in one of the refined strategies and its associated business model to work together to determine if the number of institutions and their level of willingness to support the model makes it possible to implement that model.


Project Description

The project will be an 18-month planning activity to develop several clear strategies for developing and managing regional print collections of monographs and to document willingness of libraries to participate in one or more of the well-developed models.

The project activities will be comprised of a survey of library needs and interests and a series of meetings of representatives from college and university libraries at the end of which we will have identified groups willing to move forward to implementation of one or several models for shared management of print monographs. Work will be directed by the two Project Directors and managed by a project coordinator Kathryn Leigh of the University of Massachusetts Amherst Libraries.

We will need to invest time for thorough discussions and deep thinking to define what we should mean by "unique" elements of a monographic collection in this situation (editions, marginalia, etc.). We will build one or more models for a jointly managed monograph collection (whether collectively owned or jointly owned), gaining trust of the skeptics by working together to define how we will handle the materials that we incorporate book-by-book.

To start the work of the project we have engaged Lizanne Payne as our project consultant, whose first responsibilities will include collecting information from a significant sample of the interested participant libraries about their collections and their needs that could be addressed through a cooperative print monograph management strategy – what materials they would be willing to share (through shared management or shared ownership) and what interest there is in participating financially in one or another of the possible joint projects – to allow us to better identify possible shared solutions. She will develop a template for inventorying the needs and interests of participant libraries in discussion with Project Directors; implement the template as an online questionnaire distributed to potential participant organizations; follow up with phone calls as needed and summarize the results.

We will convene a day-long Planning Meeting, on July 9, 2013, to kick-off the program with discussions of the possibilities for collaboration. The consultant will have survey responses from the prospective participants to report. The consultant will facilitate this meeting and prepare presentation and related materials and a post-meeting summary. One of the outcomes of the meeting will be the establishment of four or five Working Groups which will be charged with addressing issues raised at the meeting, such as developing or adapting business models to suit the needs of all or a portion of the libraries’ holdings that they seek to manage regionally. The working groups will meet, in person at different campuses, and via conference calls, in the fall and winter 2013. Working group meetings will be attended by the project coordinator, monitored by the consultant and Project Directors, and facilitated by a group leader appointed by the Project Directors in consultation with the Steering Committee members; each group will deliver final reports of findings and recommendations to the Steering Committee. The Project Directors and the Steering Committee will monitor the reports from the Working Groups and offer suggestions and adjustments to the group memberships as needed.

In early spring 2014, the Project Directors in consultation with the members of the Steering Committee will appoint and convene a Summarizing Panel to combine the working group reports into a cohesive plan (or sets of plans). The consultant will facilitate the Panel’s first meeting and assist with development of recommendations and preparation of a summary document. The following summer, we will hold a final meeting of representatives from the participant libraries to discuss the plan and next steps toward implementation.

Summary Scope of Work:

  • Identification of business models for covering management and operations costs for a collectively managed print monograph collection either collectively owned or separately owned, and construction costs, if needed for a facility (perhaps with one cost rate for proprietary storage and another rate for access to a shared collection);
  • Identification of management strategies for different types of monograph collections, and articulation of how those might be similar or different from those management strategies most appropriate for collections of journals and other serials (we intend to exclude from this consideration government documents, archival and special collections);
  • Inventory of current needs, interests in and willingness to pay for various collection management and storage options, allowing us to better identify possible shared solutions to address those needs, including:
    • Development of distributed or centralized collections;
    • Development of permanent collections; and
    • Offering way-stations for storage of materials that are being moved off campus prior to de-accession.


Spring 2013: Send invitations to participate to libraries in the region that are reasonably likely to be interested in one or more of the possible collaborative outcomes to participate.

Spring/Summer 2013: Consultant will launch the inventorying process to compile needs and interests in cooperative solutions from the target institutions and ensure responses from at least a third of those institutions.  Hold one-day "kick-off" planning meeting facilitated and led by the consultant.

Fall and Winter 2013: Complete the inventory of campus interests and needs; convene 4-5 working groups to address (generate findings and recommendations for) issues raised in the kick-off event, meeting face-to-face and by conference calls.

Spring 2014:  Appoint a Summarizing Panel to synthesize the findings and recommendations of the working groups and, working with the Consultant, develop specific comprehensive proposals to be tested by circulating those proposals for comment and enlisting commitments of interest and willingness to participate in one or more of the proposed models.

Summer 2014: Final meeting for reports of ideas and critiques and for discussion of next steps and future plans, led by the Consultant.

Fall 2014: Preparation by the PIs, the Project Coordinator and the Consultant in consultation with the Steering Committee and working group leaders of a summary report for circulation to the participants, the Foundation, and regional and national colleagues in similar library conversations. The report also will include next steps and future plans.

Outcomes and benefits:

The primary outcome of our proposed project will be to have identified one or more models for developing and operating a shared depository of monographs. In conversations among the Five College Librarians and faculty members, among the 45 participants in our July 2011 meeting, and among librarians and scholars nationally, the questions or fears that come up most frequently are the following:

  • What is unique? (editions, marginalia, etc.)
  • How many copies do we need to keep? (and how is that coordinated with keeping copies at different locations)
  • Is this a dark archive? If not, how can we guarantee a copy will always be available?
  • How quickly can we provide access to a print back-up item for a requesting student or faculty member?
  • How does each of the identified regional problems and solutions fit into the national or international picture?
  • Will ownership be shared or separate?

Before any group of libraries can create an effective shared collection of monographs we must address these issues, as well as others that might be identified in the planning process. And, in the New England/Northeast region, in particular, we are uniquely positioned to address them because of the very strong, historical monographic collections in both the many elite liberal arts colleges and the many very large research institutions, ­some of which already have existing depositories.

A secondary outcome of our project (which can only be achieved after completion of the first) is to identify those institutions that are willing to participate in a shared monographic depository under these defined conditions and that are willing to share in one or more options of funding and sustaining such a depository.

A tertiary outcome that we expect to achieve, though the interviewing process focuses on monographs, is an identification of those institutions in the region that want to participate in an expanded shared journal/serials collection under one or another of possible sustainable business models already developed (such as those guiding the Five College Library Depository or those identified by Lizanne Payne in her talk about WEST and other print management strategies in her presentation in July 2011). We believe that while undertaking the inventories of monograph collections and monograph print management needs, we will have the opportunity to record the libraries’ needs regarding journals and serials at marginally little additional cost of time and effort while we are working to achieve the challenging primary and secondary outcomes. While the focus of our project is on shared management of monograph collections, certain of the shared solutions would involve shared print storage facilities, and the viability of operating such facilities might depend on whether those same facilities might be used in some form for journal and serials as well.

A fourth outcome is that we will be able to identify the institutions that have interest in participating in the creation of a facility that provides either storage space for collections to which the libraries retain ownership rights or storage space for collectively owned items that would serve one or more possible sustainable business models for monographs and/or journals/serials.\

Long term sustainability:

The purpose of this project is to develop refined models for shared print management that serve the interests and needs, and the willingness to pay, of libraries in the region. Each of the models will provide reduced costs in comparison to strategies implemented separately by each of the libraries. Joint efforts, whether through developing a shared collection held in one place or a distributed collection, will give each library substantial savings in print collection management and substantial savings in future expansion of library shelving. Since the project is designed to develop long-term models and to confirm participation in one or more of those models, the outcome is naturally sustainable. To carry on the work of the grant-funded project after November 2014, we will form a post-project steering committee (or more than one, if that seems appropriate) to guide the implementation of each of the models which has drawn sufficient interest from the libraries for a financially viable project to be developed.