Letter from the President: A Reflection On Our Achievements

I’d like to take a few minutes to review what the Council of Chief Librarians (CCL) has accomplished in the last few years. Many years ago (about 10 or a few more) the CCL envisioned the possibility of a shared Library Services Platform (LSP) software system and began talking with the Chancellor’s Office about the possibility. In 2017 they were awarded a one-time $6,000,000 grant to review the vendors and implement a system. This is about when I became the Dean of the Library at Orange Coast College and because of my many years as a vendor of library automation software I volunteered to join the group in drafting and RFP and evaluating the three vendors that we most likely successful. After the evaluation process we selected Ex Libris’ (now Clarivate) software Alma and Primo public catalog. By January 2019, we had implemented 110 of the 114 community colleges (when Calbright community college was founded the number rose to 115). Then there was the year when the Chancellor’s Office and state legislature did not fund the project and were worked with the Community College League of California (CCLC) who took over the contract and collected a pro rata portion of the expense from each college according to Full Time Equivalent Students (FTES). That was a mess. After two years the legislature funded us for $4,000,000 annually in perpetuity. The Chancellor’s Office instructed us to work with the Foundation for California Community Colleges (Foundation) to renew the contract with ExLibris and they took responsibility for directly paying ExLibris. The colleges no longer have to worry about paying the cost of the LSP. With more of the allocated funds, the CCL working with the colleges and LSP have recommended and received funding for our Cataloging and Metadata subscriptions to OCLC’s WorldCat, and their EZProxy linking authentication software for each college. We also found a tool called LibKey that supports direct linking from our public catalog records to online articles and have implemented that. And we still have some unspent money that we ask the community of libraries advice on what we should do with that. Suggestions have included services, training, and additional software. We will look further into the disposition of this money in the Fall semester.

Why am I taking a walk down memory road? Because I am so proud of what we as a collective have been able to accomplish. We have built equal access to tools that every library requires, so that all colleges offer their students the same research tools equally. And these are the same tools use at the CSUs and most of the UCs. So we are preparing our students to continue their research skills as they continue their education. We have also built a community of librarians and classified professionals who now communicate with each other to learn and share their skills. We have subject based workgroups who meet throughout the year to exploit the software we have more expertly and consistently throughout the state. All without funding from the local college. In so doing, we have shaped the nature of being a librarian at the community colleges in California. We have changed our world for the better. And I just wanted to take a minute (or ten) to remind us of the success we have had by working together throughout the state. We are building better libraries and librarians by the work we do together. And as such are elevating the quality of education available in California.

Thank you for all you have done to support the CCL and our statewide efforts!

In service,

John Taylor
President, Council of Chief Librarians
Dean, Library and Learning Support, Orange Coast College