First Collaboration - 1980sAll Libraries faced labor-intensive and costly task of automating their catalogs and the acquisitions, cataloging, circulation and serial functions. The first collaboration between the private academic institutions in Indiana was the Lilly Endowment proposal for a grant to add their older records to the OCLC union catalog. They received the grant and the project was a success!
Birth of SULAN - 1989With one successful collaboration complete, the 29 libraries pursued another endowment to add more records to the OCLC union catalog. With full campus support, the first network, SULAN (State Universities Library Automation Network) was created.
Ownership Unease - 1990Administrators were cautious about joining SULAN due to questions of governance: What power would each college have in decision making in a state university-dominated system? At the end of the last meeting at the Endowment, Goshen Library Director Devon Yoder proposed that the library directors explore forming their own independent college library resource-sharing network which would link to SULAN.
Investing in the Internet - 1991All library directors voted to approve sharing a union catalog with INCOLSA to manage the system. To make this a success, library directors pushed their institutions to invest $400,000 in the latest technology: the internet. By providing the initial funding, the Indiana Higher Education Telecommunications System implemented the state-wide INDNet Internet network, bringing the internet to all PALNI campuses for the first time in 1993.
New Organization Approval - 199225 campus presidents and their library directors approved unanimously the non-profit organization. The initial goals of the organization were to (1) automate certain functions within member libraries such as the catalog, circulation, acquisitions and serials; and (2) to implement agreements among members to facilitate resource sharing.
Endowment and Non-profit Status Received - April 1992In April, the Lilly endowment agreed to cover, in decline, the first three years with the schools assuming annual funding by the four year of operation as long as they could receive IRS non-profit status which was miraculously granted six weeks later!
Naming PALNI - June 1992A founding director, Larry Frye of Wabash College, suggested that they would be named PANIC (Private Academic Network of Indiana Colleges). They were not amused. However, PALNI (The Private Academic Library Network of Indiana) was then indeed unique in American library history.
First Online Library Automation System Acquired - 1994The first online automation system, created by DRA, was pivotal to the success of the newly formed organization. Without it, resource sharing and collaboration could not have begun and expanded as quickly as it did.
Resource Sharing Begins - 1995The initial database load of records from University of Indianapolis numbered 100,000. Now, the PALNI database includes over 4 million records. A shared circulation agreement was adopted to allow individual faculty and students of any PALNI institution to go to another institution's library and check out materials directly.
Another Endowment for ILS Adoption - 2001With the rapid changes in technology and sharing demands, the Lilly Endowment awarded PALNI a follow-up $2.6M grant in 2001 to further upgrade and enhance its shared system and resource-sharing network. In 2002, ExLibris was chosen as PALNI's first integrated library system, opening the doors of collaboration even wider.
ExLibris Services Added - 2003/2004PALNI contracts with ExLibris for services including Aleph, Metalib, and SFX. All dedicated to improving data and linking so the users could research more efficiently.
Creation of a Collaborative Repository - Feb 2006Purchased OCLC’s CONTENTdm product to serve as the digital repository for PALNI libraries. Since the purchase, PALNI has been the leading consortial example in collaborative repositories. In 2008, 3 schools took the collaboration further by creating the first joint digital collection, Plowshares.
Expanding ExLibris' Services and Products - 2010The move to ExLibris’ Primo TotalCare was passed unanimously by the Board of Directors. In 2011, provision of Aleph services for most of PALNI as well as OCLC for Ezproxy support for a small number of PALNI libraries was also pursued to keep up with the fast-growing technology.
Giving a Voice to All - Feb 2010The first PALNI advisory group forms, the PALNI Technology Advisory Group (PTAG) with subgroups developed as needed for specific issues. PALNI advisory groups and ad hoc groups begin maximizing the use of virtual workspaces such as web conferencing and wikis. This was the beginning of deep collaboration in PALNI.
New Direction - June 2010PALNI created the position of Executive Director to oversee current and future technology and cooperative efforts within PALNI and with other organizations. To assist the ED's endeavors, the Digital Communications Manager was also created the following year. The valued and longtime support contract from ICOLSA (now MCLS) came to an end as PALNI moved to the cloud.
Adding Institution-based Coordinators - Late 2011The first part time coordinator positions, Systems Coordinator and Cataloging Coordinator, were created. These positions differed from other PALNI staff positions in that the positions were filled by existing library staff. The staff member would continue as an employee of the home institution while also working in a ¼-time or ½-time position for PALNI.
OCLC's WorldShare Implemented - 2013/2014In May 2013, the move to OCLC’s Worldshare system was approved at the Board Retreat with the Discovery system put in place the following year.
Adding Information Fluency Coordinators - April 2014With more library roles collaborating in the consortia than ever before, additional coordinators were sought out. One particular area, "Reference, Instruction, and Outreach (RIO)" was anxious to collaborate but needed champions to lead. Unlike the other solo coordinators, TWO Information Fluency coordinators were added - a decision proven valuable to present day.
Shift in Coordinator Roles and Functions - Spring 2014With the change to OCLC's WMS, the two Systems Coordinator roles were no longer needed to manage the less complex technology. This allowed the coordinators to focus on skills that would create more an impact for the organization and it's library users. Thus, the Fulfillment and Development Coordinator roles were created.
Assistant Director Added - July 2014With more collaboration initiatives on the horizon, PALNI created the position of Assistant Director.
Collaborative UX Testing Takes Off - October 2014With the hiring of the Information Fluency Coordinators and the switch to OCLC's WMS, the Digital Communications Manager teamed up with the Coordinators to conduct PALNI-wide usability testing on the shared system. Many rounds and many schools later, the team is still testing the site for ways to improve accessibility and enhance the user experience.
User Needs Assessment Initiative Formed - Fall 2015In efforts to best serve user needs inside and outside of the library, PALNI established an ongoing user needs assessment initiative. Currently, a toolkit and studies are promoted throughout PALNI in efforts to better meet the overall needs of our patrons.
Commitment to Deep Collaboration - Feb 2016With the increase in collaborative initiatives, budgetary cut-backs, and pressure to prove value the PALNI Board unanimously approved the Commitment to Deep Collaboration describing their vision for the consortia.
KB/LM needs open up new type of hire - Mid 2016PALNI added a KnowledgeBase/License Manager which was the first position to be completely responsible for the management of a functional library-based area.
Celebrating 25 years!April 2017 marks the 25 year anniversary for the PALNI organization! From sharing a catalog to sharing staff, PALNI continues to innovate and collaborate deeper than ever before.
Scholarly Communications Director leads to expanded services - Mid 2017As scholarly communication needs increase at the supported institutions, PALNI hired a Scholarly Communications Director to promote the development of a consortia-wide repository for institutional research and publications, faculty and student works, data sets, and emerging digital scholarship for the institutions. She also leads the effort to raise awareness of scholarly communication issues, including open access publishing and open educational resources, and leads the professional development of librarians and staff assigned to scholarly communications work at each of the PALNI institutions.
25th Anniversary Celebration: Founding Member Story Collection
The PALNI Success Story (Article)