The Private Academic Library Network of Indiana (PALNI) is a 501(c)(3) owned by the twenty-three supported private academic institutions. It was founded in 1992 to provide automation and resource sharing amongst the libraries. As the internet and information services landscape has changed, so have PALNI systems and services at the strategic direction of all twenty-three library deans and directors who sit on the PALNI board. PALNI has expanded beyond providing a resource management system to sharing expertise in many areas including strategic planning, reference, information fluency, outreach, data management and configuration, and has identified greater collaboration in acquisitions as a key goal. As of January 2015, PALNI libraries have over 4.1 million titles in the 23 libraries.
Initial funding for PALNI‘s shared library automation system and network was provided through a 3-year, $4.9M grant from The Lilly Endowment. In addition, The Endowment awarded PALNI a follow-up $2.6M grant in 2001 to further upgrade and enhance its shared system and resource-sharing network. Annual operating costs are shared among the 23 participating small college and seminary libraries throughout the State of Indiana. PALNI institutional fees support strategic initiatives and the contributions of staff and librarians of the supported organizations leveraged together provides even greater value.
Each institution is required to contribute knowledgeable staff to boards, advisory groups, and task forces. Expertise developed by each library is returned through the ability to advance deeper skillsets and experience across the twenty-three libraries and reduce duplication of problem-solving, environmental scanning, strategic planning, and development. Investments made by each school in their staff come back twenty-three-fold through the work of advisory groups, task forces, one on one work, and conferences and through the coordination of PALNI staff.
PALNI Commitment to Deep Collaboration (February 17, 2016)
In August 2014 and again in February 2015, PALNI library directors committed to “deep collaboration” between PALNI member libraries. PALNI libraries have been collaborating on a shared software system since 1992 and have continued to expand to new areas and methods of partnerships. In order to provide the evolving services that our users need, while containing costs, PALNI is becoming more deliberate in approaches to working together. PALNI has moved from sharing an ILS, expertise, and the occasional project to more broadly sharing resources, including staff. By reducing duplication of effort, this deeper collaboration can allow PALNI libraries to enable staff to focus, explore, and innovate to more effectively address needs and provide better service to students and faculty.
Deep Collaboration is goal based, done for the right reasons.
Deep Collaboration requires a common need and problem-solving skills as well as trust, respect, and understanding of each other.
Deep Collaboration uses the partnership of PALNI to do more together than any institution can do alone. It is a deliberate attempt to handle issues at a larger scale than a single institution could do alone, allowing each institution to benefit from the work of the others.
Deep Collaboration builds on strengths, shared efficiency, and reduced borders to eliminate duplication, address knowledge and service gaps, and develop expertise to meet current and future campus needs.
Deep Collaboration can occur PALNI-wide, in subsets of PALNI, and in partnership with people and organizations external to PALNI.
Deep Collaboration requires local administrative and staff input and buy-in on this method of extending capacity and services through communicating the value, structure, and support of the deep collaboration.
Deep Collaboration provides library staff with opportunities to try and learn new things and to have responsibility on a larger stage.
Shared PALNI Values
All of these institutions have joined PALNI because of a belief in the power of collaboration as a mechanism for improving library services. The PALNI Board of Directors believes that a broad statement of the values that undergird the organization and a statement of values that guide the implementation of consortium programs are useful tools in reminding ourselves of first principles that should be honored in our work.
Equity of Service
Quality of Service
Collaboration & Sharing
These values establish the context for the consortium and provide a foundational statement for the organization.
- We achieve more together. Libraries working together make us individually stronger.
- We respect each supported organization and library. We will strive to understand the needs of each individual supported organization and find common ground to serve the libraries of the supported organizations jointly.
- We expect to improve the equality of access to information for the students, faculty, and staff of supported organizations. Through our efforts, we strive to level the playing field of access to information resources.
- We provide leadership. PALNI is committed to being an advocate for supported organizations’ interests and values in state-wide collaborative ventures.
- We engage in and enable continuous learning. PALNI is committed to the belief that continuous learning is essential in a rapidly changing world.
- We encourage participation. We will provide opportunities for supported organization participation and engage in open communication in our decision-making and governance.
In developing the programs of PALNI, the supported organizations will strive to honor these values:
- Equity of service across types and sizes of libraries. While supported organizations may opt for different types and levels of service, we will always strive for equity in terms of common understanding of level of use and ability to pay.
- High quality of services. We will provide sustainable, affordable, and ready access to services that are tailored to the evolving information needs of supported organizations.
- Collaboration and resource sharing. We will serve as an effective vehicle for the supported organizations to share their resources, services, programs, and ideas, leverage their purchasing power through group efforts, and, reduce the risk for individual supported organizations.
- Innovation. PALNI is committed to bringing new services to the libraries of supported organizations, making supported organizations aware of best practices, and encouraging innovation among our supported organizations.
- Flexiblity and responsiveness to supported organizations’ needs as we continuously adapt to the change that affects us. We will strive to find ways to address change, to understand it and its impact, to accommodate to it, and to prompt change that helps us better achieve our goals.
- Efficiency in all of our operations. Limited budgets of supported organizations make it essential that operations of PALNI be consistent with these financial constraints.
- Effective stewardship. PALNI is committed to the effective use of the resources that supported organizations entrust to the consortium.*
* We are grateful for the work of other consortia on value statements from which we have borrowed heavily:
- NELINET, Inc. Strategic Plan, 2004-2007. July 2004.
- Harrington Library Consortium. Mission and Purpose Statement. May 2005.
- Connecticut Library Consortium. Mission, Goals & Values. May 2005.