The Power of Consortia



Libraries around the world, of all shapes and sizes, have successfully used consortia to maximize the reach of their resources and their spending budgets. Communal efforts, such as the newly-established DPLA/LYRASIS Palace Project, leverage libraries’ buying power and influence to ensure that they and their services continue as a social good, as we move towards a post-pandemic future. This roundtable will bring together leaders of several consortia to talk about their work and their efforts to ensure the broadest possible access to all forms of information in the 21st century.

Confirmed speakers include Miguel Figueroa, Executive Director, AMIGOS Library Services, Lucy Harrison, Executive Director, GALILEO; George Machovec, Executive Director, Colorado Alliance of Research Libraries (CARL);  Jill Morris, Executive Director, PALCI; and Andrew K. Pace, Executive Director, USMAI. 

Event Sessions

Roundtable Discussion


Andrew K. Pace

Executive Director
University System of Maryland & Affiliated Institutions (USMAI) Library Consortium

Todd Carpenter, Executive Director of NISO, will moderate the discussion. 

The discussion by participants touched on the following:

What are some of the core activities or services that your members rely on you to provide?

What are some of the different consortia funding models? How do consortia sustain themselves? Should the community be seeking new ways of supporting these collaborative entities? 

In delivering services to your members, what are some of the speed bumps that you regularly face? What are the membership’s challenges that contribute to the size of those “speed bumps”

What do you see or anticipate as emerging needs of your members? Are you able to get ahead of them in satisfying those needs? As libraries redefine their roles and services, what might that imply for current operations?

Why is there so much current emphasis on collaboration between libraries at the moment? Do current market conditions in higher ed lend themselves to reliance on that kind of strategy? Are you able to share lessons learned with one another or are you finding yourselves to be competing with one another? 

Are providers of content or systems actively working with you in the ways that you need them to do? Do you see interest from them in developing win-win arrangements when it comes to content licensing agreements, accommodating new forms of usage due to technology (TDM, CDL), etc.? What accommodations are you asking of them in the current environment? What flexibility is there (from either side of the negotiating table)?   

What are some of the concerns with regard to consolidation (mergers & acquisitions, etc.) in the industry? In what ways does that create new headaches for consortia? 

If there were a single message that you might hope attendees would take away from this discussion, what would it be?

Are there ways in which NISO might be able to support the work of your organizations? Where might consensus-building be helpful in the current environment?

Resources, literature, and more!

Shared by featured speaker, Andrew K. Pace

Advocates for Accessible Digital Library Resources - The Library Accessibility Alliance (LAA) promotes equitable access to library services and electronic resources. Our member libraries are committed to providing equal access to information for all library users, and we work together to improve vendor products, educate our community, and advance digital accessibility.

Shared by featured speaker, Jill Morris

Strategies for Collaboration: Opportunities and Challenges to Build the Future We Need September 15, 2022 - The ICOLC Strategies for Open Collaboration in Library Consortia Task Force was initially formed to develop strategies for consortia and libraries to interact with vendors and the open source community to address pricing, standards/interoperability, and access challenges.

Shared by attendees:

Georgia Tech: Center for Inclusive Design and Innovation - Delivering high quality braille when and where you need it starts with our highly accomplished, experienced and dedicated braille team but doesn't stop there. We understand the importance of designing creative solutions including strong training partnership with members of the National Prison Braille Network (NPBN) and collaborations with braille organizations like the Braille Authority of North America (BANA).

PDF Pit Stops in Library Platforms: An Essential Feature for Blind User - Presentation at Access Conference hosted by Carleton University, Ottawa, Ontario, October 12 to 14, 2022

Big Ten Academic Alliance (BTAA): Library Accessibility - Introduction - The Big Ten Academic Alliance Libraries are committed to equitable service and access and are concerned about the inaccessibility of many library electronic resources. Purchasing and subscribing to inaccessible library e-resources goes against Big Ten Libraries’ commitment to providing equal access to information for all library users.

Additional Information

NISO assumes organizations register as a group. The model assumes that an unlimited number of staff will be watching the live broadcast in a single location, but also includes access to an archived recording of the event for those who may have timing conflicts. 

NISO understands that, during the current pandemic, staff at a number of organizations may be practicing safe social distancing or working remotely. To accommodate those workers, we are allowing registrants to share the sign-on instructions with all colleagues so that they may join the broadcast directly. 

Registrants receive sign-on instructions via email on the Friday prior to the virtual event. If you have not received your instructions by the day before an event, please contact NISO headquarters for assistance via email ( 

Registrants for an event may cancel participation and receive a refund (less $35.00) if the notice of cancellation is received at NISO HQ ( one full week prior to the event date. If received less than 7 days before, no refund will be provided. 

Links to the archived recording of the broadcast are distributed to registrants 24-48 hours following the close of the live event. Access to that recording is intended for internal use of fellow staff at the registrant’s organization or institution. Speaker presentations are posted to the NISO event page.

Broadcast Platform

NISO uses the Zoom platform for purposes of broadcasting our live events. Zoom provides apps for a variety of computing devices (tablets, laptops, etc.) To view the broadcast, you will need a device that supports the Zoom app. Attendees may also choose to listen just to audio on their phones. Sign-on credentials include the necessary dial-in numbers, if that is your preference. Once notified of their availability, recordings may be downloaded from the Zoom platform to your machine for local viewing.