Five College Consortium

Five College Librarians Council's Strategic Framework

The Five College Librarians Council (FCLC) mission is to provide leadership and develop collaborative efforts to improve access to information resources for the Five College community. FCLC oversees the Five College Depository, a shared automated library system, and consortial direct borrowing arrangement. FCLC coordinates the work of Five College library committees and task forces, and manages the Five College Library Budget, in support of shared strategic goals:

  •  Provide unified access to library systems that are integrated and accessible.
  •  Actively steward digital resources consistent with national and international efforts.
  •  Reduce the cost of scholarly information and promote open access.
  •  Expand shared uniform access to electronic resources.
  •  Manage less commonly used materials.
  •  Expand the accessibility of physical and electronic resources.

The FCLC operates on the belief that collaborative work can enhance our service to our communities and seeks collaborative solutions that attract grant funding and further national conversations. To foster collaborative work, the FCLC promotes formal and informal communities of practice in which participants share information, foster innovative ideas for library services, share best practices and encourage professional development opportunities for library staff. Representatives from each of the schools have been appointed to provide leadership to  committees, task forces, and working groups.

Five College Librarians Council Members

  • Bryn Geffert, Librarian of the College, Amherst College
  • Jennifer Gunter King, Director of Library, Hampshire College
  • Alex Wirth-Cauchon, Chief Information Officer and Executive Director, LITS, Mount Holyoke College
  • Sarah Fliss, Dean of Libraries, Smith College (from mid-September 2016)
        in the interim a team of four directors of the Smith College Libraries will provide leadership
  • Jay Schafer, Director of Libraries, University of Massachusetts Amherst (until mid-August 2016)
        Simon Neam, Dean of Libraries, University of Massachusetts Amherst (from mid-August 2016)
  • Neal B. Abraham, Executive Director, Five Colleges, Incorporated

Recent Projects

EAST: the Northeast Regional Library Print Management Planning Project

EAST is a planning project to collect information about libraries’ interest in shared storage of print materials (what to share, how to share), to develop or adapt an existing business model or models for managing one or more regional print collections of monographs (and serials and journals if there is interest in the latter) and, finally, to confirm willingness of various libraries to participate in one or another of the developed models.The mission of EAST is to assure scholars (faculty members and students) in the Northeast of the United States the widest possible access to the scholarly record of print monographs and print journals and serials through multi-library collaborative arrangements that ensure that copies of even less frequently used materials are retained in sufficient numbers to be readily available to meet the needs of library patrons.  Though electronic copies of these materials are increasingly available and conveniently meet the needs of many patrons, the occasional need for access to print copies of infrequently used materials requires collaborative arrangements among libraries to ensure that separate collection management decisions reached by the libraries do not eliminate holdings of infrequently used materials to the detriment of scholarly needs. Such collaboration on print management also widens the access for scholars from all participating libraries to the uncommon items in certain library collections which the participating libraries are willing to share. https://www.fivecolleges.edu/libraries/regionalproject

Depository Conference. On July 21, 2011, the Librarians Council hosted a conference for New England and other regional library directors to discuss the need for a Northeast Regional Depository (NERD), and the possibility that the Five College Library Depository might be expanded to fill that need. View the summary of the meeting (PDF file) and a presentation by Lizanne Payne, invited speaker at the conference (.pptx file).

Collaboration on E-Resources. Currently the FCLC is exploring the effective management of e-resources within the consortium, and has assigned a task force to evaluate a Discovery Service for the Five College libraries. A grant from the Davis Educational Foundation funded an investigation and two reports (Phase 1 and Phase 2) on these issues from R2 Consulting, LLC, including a number of other recommendations which are now under consideration.

Five College Library Repository Collection (FCLRC). In 1951 the Librarians founded the Hampshire Inter-Library Center (HILC), one of the oldest library consortia in the country, to acquire and maintain a specialized, shared collection of journals and reference material. This project continues in the form of the Five College Library Repository Collection (previously named the Five College Library Depository) today. Housing single, de-duplicated print copies of scholarly journal backfiles (many now available full-text online) and infrequently circulating monographs, the FCLRC allows the libraries to maintain shared access for our patrons while freeing up library space at each institution for more current uses. Construction of a new Five College Library Annex to increase shelving capacity for the FCLRC is now underway.

Archives Projects. Two projects have increased access to the extensive and unique archives, manuscripts and special collections in the Five Colleges, both with support from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. The Five College Archives Digital Access Project began digitizing collections relating to women's history and education, while the Five College Finding Aids Project created a searchable database of finding aids for archives and manuscript collections. A Digital Preservation study is currently underway.

Three College Digital Library.   Hampshire College, Mount Holyoke College and Smith College libraries are collaborating on the development of a three-college digital library system for archiving and making accessible born digital materials.