With the active support and encouragement of the university administrations, Columbia University Libraries (CUL) and Cornell University Library (CUL) are building a transformative, enduring partnership that will see a broad integration of resources, collections, services, and expertise between the two library systems. This partnership will be deep and lasting, taking advantage of a whole that is greater than the sum of its parts.
In Phase 1 of 2CUL (2009-2012), the two libraries joined forces to address budgetary challenges posed by the economic recession and to improve library efficiencies, enhance quality, promote innovation, and meet new and emerging academic needs. With support from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, 2CUL achieved considerable success in expanding collections and access privileges, sharing staff, and improving several facets of library operations as well as more than $360,000 in documented savings, cost avoidance, and reinvestments in functions that were supported separately at each institution. New savings, cost avoidance, and reinvestments will accumulate as we extend our partnership.
Phase 2 of 2CUL (2013-2015) is designed to consolidate the partnership, create the requisite infrastructure to build deeper collections through integration, and develop new capabilities for meeting 21st century research, teaching, and learning needs. Both partners believe that addressing such challenges successfully will require new organizational models that embrace deep collaboration. We also recognize the need to sharpen our focus on specific areas of library operations.
With support from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, 2CUL will build an integrated technical services operation. Specifically, we will:
1. Reconceive separate library operations at each campus to achieve integration across both campuses by realigning staff responsibilities, workflow processes, and reporting lines to reflect an integrated operation;
2. Ensure that all technical services staff on both campuses understand and embrace 2CUL as an institutional goal and view inter-institutional collaboration as part of normal library operations.
In addition we will:
3. Secure a sustainable institutional commitment to the partnership: finalize a 2CUL governance, fiscal, and legal structure, formally supported by the provosts and presidents of Columbia and Cornell.
4. Develop and embrace comprehensive strategies: for collection building, resource sharing and discovery, digital preservation, global partnerships, and emerging services. This will require extensive team-based efforts between the two institutions and within allied consortia (e.g., Borrow Direct).
5. Select, co-purchase, and implement a joint 2CUL library management system, if possible by 2015.
6. Mainstream 2CUL beyond the Technical Services Integration: engage the entire library staff through regular inter-campus functional teams, revised job descriptions, annual performance reviews, and incentive programs, and make routine the joint appointment of non-technical services staff who serve both institutions.
7. Ensure support for 2CUL by faculty and students: regularly communicate the benefits of 2CUL to the campus communities, assess how deeply 2CUL is understood and supported by key stakeholders, and involve faculty members in operational changes that will directly affect them.
8. Enable budgetary transparency on behalf of 2CUL: in such areas as acquisitions, ordering, cataloging, and collection development operations. The partners will exercise collective clout in negotiating with vendors and other third parties for services, expanded content, and access rights.
9. Assess and implement additional partnership arrangements with other institutions: pursue contract-for-services relationships with peer and smaller institutions for specialized services and also pursue selected partnership arrangements with other research libraries and organizations that have capacity and capabilities to complement what Columbia and Cornell can provide.
If you have questions about 2CUL, you can contact the communications team using this form.