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Community College Librarians Keep Digital Platform Running in California

A recent effort by a team of librarians has resulted in a three-year agreement to continue the shared library services platform. Community College League of California, a nonprofit that supports community colleges, has signed a three-year contract with ExLibris to continue making the company's online library services Alma and Primo available to 110 participating colleges in the state.

The system, dubbed the Library Services Platform (LSP) by the colleges, allows students to use a single search for physical library materials, library database subscriptions, digital books and open educational resources. They can access electronic resources, check their library records and renew books online.

Originally funded by a one-time grant from the California Community College Tech Center, LSP usage was scheduled to end on Dec. 31, 2020, when no replacement funding had been identified.

The League stepped in and worked with the Council of Chief Librarians to renegotiate the original contract. That was signed before the end of December, enabling the colleges to continue use of the service without a break. Calling the program "critical to our community college students," Lisa Mealoy, chief operating officer for the League, said that financial support also came from the Academic Senate for California Community Colleges, which provided an additional $440,000 grant for that first year of usage.

The ongoing annual cost of the program is divided among the participating colleges, based on their full-time equivalent enrollments.

According to Amy Beadle, the League's Library Consortium Director, the library platform has turned out to be "one of the most successful statewide technology projects the state has seen — 110 colleges joined and went live in 11 months." As Beadle noted, many of those libraries wouldn't have been able to continue functioning during COVID without the LSP program.

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a former senior contributing editor for 1105 Media's education publications THE Journal, Campus Technology and Spaces4Learning.

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