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May 2020

Executive Director's Notes

May 1, 2020 marked twenty years of service for me with ASERL.  What was once a small, sleepy, loosely-organized social group (“moribund” in the words of one now-retired dean) has become a respected and trusted peer network offering a wide array of highly-valued services to our members.  But rather than celebrating this milestone, we find ourselves in the middle of unprecedented disruption due to the coronavirus pandemic.  Our libraries are mostly shuttered; interlibrary lending of physical materials are suspended; and nearly all library employees are working from home for the next several weeks at least.  That said, ASERL and its member libraries are hardly “closed for business” – just the opposite, in fact.  We are providing myriad new services and developing innovative new skills to continue to support our patrons and institutions as they grapple with this temporary change in operations.

The extent of work underway at all 38 ASERL-member libraries is beyond the scope of this newsletter, but the success stories we are hearing are heartwarming testaments to our members’ dedication to the communities they serve. Here at ASERL, we are taking numerous steps to continue to be of service during this time of disruption:

  • ASERL’s in-person Spring Membership Meeting and 2020 Annual Meeting are being replaced with online sessions on May 27. We expect our next in-person meeting to take place November 12-13, 2020 in Atlanta
  • To date we have hosted two online Deans’ Info-Sharing sessions (March 12 and April 22) with more to come
  • We are making changes to ASERL’s Operating Budget for FY21 to ensure membership dues and other remain flat at the FY20 levels
  • We have accelerated the delivery and scope of our Professional Development webinars, with more than a dozen new sessions on the docket and more on the way, attracting thousands of registrants from around the globe
  • Our strategic planning work continues, with the final 2020-2023 Strategic Directions document to be delivered to the membership as part of our online Annual Meeting on May 27
  • In light of interrupted ILL services, we terminated our service agreement with Lanter Delivery Systems, the courier company that served 15 ASERL libraries for nearly two decades. We are examining options for new technologies and services to be trialed once our libraries re-open for lending items
  • The analysis of our Shared Print Journal archive continues, albeit with an extended initial deadline for making retention commitments
ASERL’s Board and staff thank our members for their unwavering support. We stand ready to assist as the impacts of this global pandemic continue to unfold and change how we interact with each other. Any ideas or suggestions for how ASERL can continue to be of service are welcome –feel free to drop me a line at

To brighter days ahead!

John Burger, Executive Director
ASERL Scholars Trust Update

Cheryle Cole-Bennett
Program Coordinator for Shared Print

ASERL launched its Shared Print Journal Retention Program in 2010. In 2013, ASERL and the Washington Research Libraries Consortium (WRLC) joined forces to create Scholars Trust, a collaboration to share the retention of and access to print journals. The agreement also includes reciprocal priority interlibrary loan services. Today, 52 libraries participate in Scholars Trust, with retention commitments for nearly 50,000 titles.

Scholars Trust is a founding partner of the Rosemont Shared Print Alliance (RSPA), along with the Big Ten Academic Alliance (BTAA), Eastern Academic Scholars’ Trust (EAST), Florida Academic Libraries Repository (FLARE), and Western Regional Storage Trust (WEST). We share common goals of retaining and providing access to print journal backfiles and creating local opportunities to reclaim space. All participants in the RSPA agree and affirm that all journals retained by their respective programs are accessible to all RSPA libraries. Today, 182 participating libraries share retention commitments for over 102,000 titles, an increase of 57,000 retained titles since RSPA was founded in 2017.

Read the full Scholars Trust update.

Professional Development Webinars
Elaina Norlin
Coordinator for Professional Development & DEI

I’ve spoken with many people during my site visits and on telephone calls who provided some suggestions and advice about expanding ASERL’s webinars during the pandemic.  Some people loved the current content, but others did not have any idea that ASERL offered webinars.  A few Library Deans expressed an interest in more workplace culture and public service webinars. From my site visits, some staff expressed an interest in showcasing library professional talent that feels more open to everyone.  Another theme that emerged is that minority employees wanted to be known for research outside of DEI and wanted opportunities to develop other talents. 
Based on this feedback, we have accelerated and expanded the content for webinars in April and May. I worked with the presenters for the 2019 Library Paraprofessional Conference to deliver some outstanding content in April concerning workplace culture, a topic that is new for ASERL. 
Continue reading...
Collaborative Federal Depository Program (CFDP) Update
Cheryle Cole-Bennett
Program Coordinator
for Shared Print

In 2006, members of ASERL unanimously authorized the creation of a new ASERL program to explore options for cooperative services and collection analysis for Federal government publications to improve public access to those collections within member institutions.  The program received a boost in 2009 when ASERL was awarded a three-year grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) to support ongoing development of the ASERL Collaborative Federal Depository Program (CFDP). Since that time, Depository Libraries within the Southeast (ASERL members and non-members) have continued to address the increasing cost of managing, preserving, and providing access to large collections of Federal government publications through the creation of comprehensive collections known as “Centers of Excellence” (COE). 

Continue reading...

Upcoming Webinars

Learn How to Create Fun, Innovative Videos for Your Online Classes
May 14, 2020 @ 2pm ET | 1pm Central Time 
Rethinking Work: Measure Results Not Hours!
May 19, 2020 @ 2pm ET | 1pm Central Time 
How to Triage Copyright Questions and Address Legal Issues
May 20, 2020 @ 10:30am ET | 9:30am Central Time 
How to Triage Copyright Questions and Address Legal Issues
May 20, 2020 @ 10:30am ET | 9:30am Central Time 
Using Appreciative Inquiry and a Peer-Led Approach to Guide Organizational Change
May 22, 2020 @ 2pm ET | 1pm Central Time 
Summary of Initial PD/DEI Site Visits
February-March 2020

Elaina Norlin
Coordinator for Professional Development & DEI

First, I want to thank all the ASERL member libraries who invited me to their institutions and welcomed me with open arms.  A special thank you to Anne Moore at UNC Charlotte for calling and emailing me right away to be the first site visit after my initial email.  During the months of February and March, each library treated me like I was a rock star and I00% appreciated the warm hospitality.  In terms of site visit logistics, on average I stayed at each location a day and a half, usually with dinner with select staff members the first night and meeting different staff members, leadership groups, DEI  and professional development committees the second day. In terms of a formal presentation, I was able to give quick workshops on the summary findings from my employee engagement research that is the basis for my upcoming book that should be coming out late fall from ALA. 
I completed five site visits – UNC Charlotte, UNC Greensboro, Wake Forest, University of Miami, and Clemson – before travel was halted due to COVID-19.  Overall, during my listening tour staff provided very honest and direct feedback during the various meetings and committee meetings.

Clemson University
University of
UNC Charlotte
UNC Greensboro
Wake Forest University
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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