CDL Accelerates at the Boston Library Consortium: Will Expand Interlibrary Loan

Information Industry News

Boston, MA. | January 13, 2022

The Davis Educational Foundation has awarded the Boston Library Consortium a two-year $215,000 grant to accelerate the implementation of controlled digital lending as a mechanism for interlibrary loan. The grant supports plans described in BLC’s 'Consortial CDL: Implementing Controlled Digital Lending as a Mechanism for Interlibrary Loan' report published in September 2021. 

"We are very grateful to the Davis Educational Foundation for this early support of our consortial CDL implementation," said Dorothy Meaney, BLC’s president and director of the Tisch Library at Tufts University. "The 'Controlled Digital Lending for Library Consortia' project will transform the ways in which students and scholars access library materials and enhance the value of our physical collections for their teaching, research, and learning."

CDL enables libraries to lend legally acquired materials in a digital format under controlled conditions. The COVID-19 pandemic catalyzed a growing consensus that CDL is an appropriate and high-impact method of lending that replicates the rights afforded to libraries for interlibrary loan—itself a foundational library practice, long empowered by copyright law and protected by Congress.

"This grant holds great significance far beyond the BLC," said Charlie Barlow, the consortium’s executive director. "The generosity of the Davis Educational Foundation sends a strong signal to other libraries, consortia, and vendors that an interoperable solution developed collaboratively by and for libraries and consortia is within reach."

"We applaud [the BLC] for undertaking such a considerable project to increase access to consortial holdings," expressed the Trustees of the Davis Educational Foundation upon making the award.

BLC joined Project ReShare in December 2021, making an initial contribution of $100,000 to accelerate the development path for CDL functionality within the ReShare client. Throughout the next year, the BLC’s CDL Steering Committee will partner with Project ReShare community members and developers to advance the development of CDL functionality, in order to realize the collective vision for CDL as a mechanism for interlibrary loan.

The Davis Educational Foundation support provides early funding for digitization services in anticipation of building a shared repository, initial set up and hosting costs for the ReShare client, as well as travel and workshops for the CDL Steering Committee members to engage with strategic partners.

"Consortia are the ideal level at which to engage, collaborate, and govern a solution to facilitate CDL as a mechanism for interlibrary loan", added Nathan Mealey, co-chair of the CDL Steering Committee and associate university librarian for discovery and access at Wesleyan University. "Operating as a network of libraries and consortia will maximize impact and position the project for long-term sustainability and equitable growth." 

The latest quarterly update on activities of the CDL Steering Committee during Q4 2021 is available on BLC’s website.

The grant was received from the Davis Educational Foundation established by Stanton and Elisabeth Davis after Mr. Davis's retirement as chairman of Shaw's Supermarkets, Inc.

About This Organization

About the Boston Library Consortium

Founded in 1970, the Boston Library Consortium (BLC) is an academic library consortium serving public and private universities, liberal arts colleges, state and special research libraries in the northeastern United States. The BLC members collaborate to deliver innovative and cost-effective sharing of print and digital content, professional development initiatives, and projects across a wide range of library practice areas. For more information, visit