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October 2020

Service in a Time of Disruption

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, ASERL is accelerating service to delivery to meet our members’ needs:

  • Instead of two in-person meetings for library deans/directors per year, ASERL has offered five online info-sharing sessions to allow ASERL leaders to share experiences and ideas.  We expect to offer one or two more before December 31 – in addition to the twice-yearly membership meetings.
  • Since March 1, 2020, ASERL has delivered 43 webinars/online meetings to more than 15,000 viewers – with an increased focus on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion.   Our professional development webinars are not only a place for people of color to talk about DEI-related issues but also showcase their talents.  Since March 2020, we have hosted more than a dozen people of color presenting on leadership, trust, video creation, faculty collaboration, publishing, professional development, and self-advocacy.  This increase in representation has been noticed by our members and other libraries across the country as an example of excellent and diverse programming.
  • ASERL is offering monthly “Copyright Office Hours” to share expertise across our membership.  See for the upcoming schedule.
  • As a way to share other types of specialized expertise across our group, we have added a new online form on the ASERL homepage that allows ASERL members to request consulting assistance from another ASERL library.  New posts are circulated weekly to ASERL Deans to identify matches. 
  • We are also developing a process to share online instructional materials among ASERL libraries to reduce duplication of effort.

“ASERL Ahead” Maps our Future
On June 23, 2020, ASERL published “ASERL Ahead:  Strategic Directions for 2020-2023,” an ambitious plan for continuing the organization’s work to serve its members and the profession through excellence in professional development, resource sharing, and member engagement.  The new plan also includes an explicit focus on strengthening its work with Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion issues, including recruitment and retention of more diverse library workforces and more equitable access to library information, services, programming, and spaces.
“For nearly two years we’ve engaged with our members and leaders in other research library consortia across North America to determine how ASERL could contribute in meaningful ways not just to our membership in the Southeast, but to the profession more broadly,” commented Jan Lewis, Director of Academic Library Services at East Carolina University and President of ASERL’s Board of Directors for 2020-2021.  “We conducted extensive research to identify our strengths, gaps in services available from other organizations, and ways a small organization like ASERL can be of service both regionally and beyond.  We think ASERL Ahead sets us on a strong path into the future, even with so many uncertainties in the world right now.”
ASERL Ahead divides ASERL’s work for 2020-2023 into four main areas: 
  • Innovation and High-Impact Programming
  • Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
  • Expanded Member Engagement
  • Strengthening Infrastructure
ASERL Ahead also includes refined Mission, Vision, and Values statements for the organization. See for the full text.
Two DEI Task forces Formed to
Improve Recruitment & Retention
In September 2020, the ASERL Board of Directors affirmed appointments of 24 ASERL members to serve on two task forces that will conduct research and offer models for successful recruitment and retention programming, with the focus on improving diversity and equity within member libraries. The members of the task-forces are:

New Video Highlights Value of Shared Print
ASERL is a founding member of the Rosemont Shared Print Alliance.  On June 25, 2020 the Rosemont Shared Print Alliance and the Partnership for Shared Book Collections launched a two-minute video highlighting the importance of shared print collections in libraries as a key component to ensuring ongoing and future access to the scholarly record and to the future of research, teaching, and learning.  “Most people access scholarly information online these days, and even more so since much of the world has been in some form of lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic,” commented Judy Russell, Dean of Libraries at the University of Florida and Chair of the Rosemont Alliance Executive Committee. “But you can only digitize something if the original print copy has been safely retained.”

Libraries have been collaborating to determine the proper level of redundancy of their print collections, ensuring that collections are protected and maintained while offering individual libraries flexibility in what to keep on their shelves. According to the Center for Research Libraries, there are currently 49 Shared Print Programs registered with the Print Archive and Preservation (“PAPR”) Registry.  The video can be viewed at
Scholars Trust
Adds 4000+
Library Accessibility
Alliance Hosts
Webinar Series

As part of its two-year effort to grow the number of print journal titles held under long-term retention commitments, 15 ASERL libraries have recently added 4,270 additional journal titles that are being held as part of the program.  Participating libraries are committed to retaining the selected titles in print format until December 31, 2035.

-ASERL seeks to add a minimum of 4,500 additional titles by 2021; we are 95% of the way to our goal.
-In August 2020, ASERL surveyed participating Scholars Trust libraries as part of its decennial program review.  There was unanimous support for continuing the program, with all respondents affirming that the program continues to benefit their library and university.
Early in 2020, ASERL became a founding member of the Library Accessibility Alliance (LAA).  This is an extension of the work led by the Big Ten Academic Alliance (BTAA) to assess online tools used by libraries and to advocate for their compliance with WCAG accessibility standards so they can be readily used by persons with disabilities.  

This Fall, a new effort is underway:  A series of four webinars to improve awareness of the challenges faced by library patrons living with various disabilities.  See the full webinar schedule at In related news, ASERL has recently added closed captioning to its body of webinar recordings from 2018 to the present.  Older recordings will be captioned on a by-request basis.
New Leadership for Interest Groups /
Communities of Practice
In July 2020, the ASERL Board of Directors affirmed the appointments of a slate of new leaders for ASERL’s numerous Interest Groups and Communities of Practice.  These leaders will identify programming opportunities for the coming year in service to their ASERL colleagues.  Please join us in welcoming them into these roles!
Scholarly Communications
  • Zachary Lukemire (University of Alabama)
  • Devin Soper (Florida State University)
Collection Assessment Initiative
  • Jennifer Daughtery (East Carolina University)
  • Alice Daughtery (University of Alabama)
  • Helen McManus (George Mason University
Collection Assessment Initiative
  • Jennifer Daughtery (East Carolina University)
  • Alice Daughtery (University of Alabama)
  • Helen McManus (George Mason University
ASERL Focus Group with
Scholarly Society
ASERL Fall Membership
Meeting to Focus on DEI,
“Groundwater” Training
On September 24, 2020, ASERL hosted an online focus group with representatives from five UK-based independent scholarly societies that are formulating plans to transition their publishing operations to Open Access business models. Twelve ASERL library leaders attended The Societies represented were the Biochemical Society, The Company of Biologists, Microbiology Society, Royal Society, and International Water Association. See for the recording and presenters’ slides.
ASERL’s 2020 Membership Meeting will focus on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion issues, including a half-day “Groundwater” training from the Racial Equity Institute.  Each ASERL library is invited to send one representative to the Membership Meeting, typically the library dean/director.  For the Fall 2020 meeting, we will also invite Interest Group / Community of Practice leaders to attend the Groundwater training session as well.
ASERL is now on Amazon Smile & Kroger Rewards
Thanks to COVID-19, most of us are doing a lot more online shopping these days. 
  • If you use Amazon, please consider designating ASERL as the beneficiary organization of your online purchases.  More information can be found at 
  • If you use Kroger (online or in-person) for grocery shopping, you can add ASERL to receive donations from your Kroger Rewards card.  (The benefits to ASERL do not impact/reduce the Kroger Reward points you earn as a shopper.)  To add ASERL to your Kroger account, login at, click on “My Account” then “Community Rewards.” You can search for ASERL via our Kroger number:  BB910 and then click on “Enroll” to add ASERL to your profile. 
These are both free and easy – and great new ways you can support ASERL!
Association of Southeastern Research Libraries (ASERL)
Robert W. Woodruff Library
540 Asbury Circle, Suite 316
Atlanta, GA 30322-1006
Telephone: 404-727-0137

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