Three Decades in the Making
PALNI libraries have been working together since their first collaboration in the 1980s. Since its founding, the consortium has grown to support 24 private institutions in Indiana serving more than 47,500 students and faculty.
Scroll the timeline below to learn more about PALNI's history and view our video gallery.
Detailing 30 years of deep collaboration and innovation
All libraries faced the labor-intensive and costly task of automating their catalogs and the acquisitions, cataloging, circulation and serial functions. The first collaboration between the private academic institutions in Indiana was the Lilly Endowment proposal for a grant to add their older records to the OCLC union catalog. They received the grant and the project was a success.
Birth of SULAN
With one successful collaboration complete, the 29 libraries pursued another endowment to add more records to the OCLC union catalog. With full campus support, the first network, SULAN (State Universities Library Automation Network) was created.
Administrators were cautious about joining SULAN due to questions of governance. What power would each college have in decision making in a state university-dominated system? At the end of the last meeting at the Endowment, Goshen Library Director Devon Yoder proposed that the library directors explore forming their own independent college library resource-sharing network which would link to SULAN.
Investing in the Internet
All library directors voted to approve sharing a union catalog with INCOLSA to manage the system. To make this a success, library directors pushed their institutions to invest $400,000 in the latest technology: the Internet. By providing the initial funding, the Indiana Higher Education Telecommunications System implemented the state-wide INDNet Internet network, bringing the internet to all PALNI campuses for the first time in 1993.
New Organization Approval
Twenty-five campus presidents and their library directors approved unanimously the non-profit organization. The initial goals of the organization were to (1) automate certain functions within member libraries such as the catalog, circulation, acquisitions and serials; and (2) implement agreements among members to facilitate resource sharing.
Endowment and Nonprofit Status Received
In April, the Lilly Endowment agreed to cover, in decline, the first three years with the schools assuming annual funding by the fourth year of operation—as long as they could receive IRS non-profit status, which was miraculously granted six weeks later.
A founding director, Larry Frye of Wabash College, suggested that they would be named PANIC (Private Academic Network of Indiana Colleges). They were not amused. However, PALNI (The Private Academic Library Network of Indiana) was then indeed unique in American library history.
First Online Library Automation System Acquired
The first online automation system, created by DRA, was pivotal to the success of the newly formed organization. Without it, resource sharing and collaboration could not have begun and expanded as quickly as it did.
Resource Sharing Begins
The initial database load of records from University of Indianapolis numbered 100,000. Now, the PALNI database includes over 4 million records. A shared circulation agreement was adopted to allow individual faculty and students of any PALNI institution to go to another institution's library and check out materials directly.
Another Endowment for ILS Adoption
With the rapid changes in technology and sharing demands, the Lilly Endowment awarded PALNI a follow-up $2.6 million grant in 2001 to further upgrade and enhance its shared system and resource-sharing network. In 2002, ExLibris was chosen as PALNI's first integrated library system, opening the doors of collaboration even wider.
ExLibris Services Added
PALNI contracts with ExLibris for services including Aleph, Metalib, and SFX. All dedicated to improving data and linking so the users could research more efficiently.
Creation of a Collaborative Repository
Purchased OCLC's CONTENTdm product to serve as the digital repository for PALNI libraries. Since the purchase, PALNI has been the leading consortial example in collaborative repositories. In 2008, three schools took the collaboration further by creating the first joint digital collection, Plowshares.
Giving a Voice to All
The first PALNI advisory group forms, the PALNI Technology Advisory Group (PTAG), with subgroups developed as needed for specific issues. PALNI advisory groups and ad hoc groups begin maximizing the use of virtual workspaces such as web conferencing and wikis. This was the beginning of deep collaboration in PALNI.
Expanding ExLibris's Services and Products
The move to ExLibris's Primo TotalCare was passed unanimously by the Board of Directors. In 2011, provision of Aleph services for most of PALNI as well as OCLC for Ezproxy support for a small number of PALNI libraries was also pursued to keep up with the fast-growing technology.
PALNI created the position of Executive Director to oversee current and future technology and cooperative efforts within PALNI and with other organizations. To assist the ED's endeavors, the Digital Communications Manager was also created the following year. The valued and longtime support contract from ICOLSA (now MCLS) came to an end as PALNI moved to the cloud.
Adding Institution-Based Coordinators
The first part-time coordinator positions, Systems Coordinator and Cataloging Coordinator, were created. These positions differed from other PALNI staff positions in that the positions were filled by existing library staff. The staff member would continue as an employee of the home institution while also working in a quarter-time or half-time position for PALNI.
OCLC's WorldShare Implemented
In May 2013, the move to OCLC's Worldshare system was approved at the board retreat with the Discovery system put in place the following year.
Shift in Coordinator Roles and Functions
With the change to OCLC's WMS, the two Systems Coordinator roles were no longer needed to manage the less complex technology. This allowed the coordinators to focus on skills that would create more of an impact for the organization and its library users. Thus, the Fulfillment and Development Coordinator roles were created.
Adding Information Fluency Coordinators
With more library roles collaborating in the consortia than ever before, additional coordinators were sought. One particular area, Reference, Instruction, and Outreach (RIO), was excited to collaborate but needed champions to lead. Unlike the other solo coordinators, TWO Information Fluency coordinators were added—a decision proven valuable to present day.
Assistant Director Added
With more collaboration initiatives on the horizon, PALNI created the position of Assistant Director.
Collaborative UX Testing Takes Off
With the hiring of the Information Fluency Coordinators and the switch to OCLC's WMS, the Digital Communications Manager teamed up with the Coordinators to conduct PALNI-wide usability testing on the shared system. Many rounds and many schools later, the team is still testing the site for ways to improve accessibility and enhance the user experience.
User Needs Assessment Initiative Formed
In efforts to best serve user needs inside and outside of the library, PALNI established an ongoing user needs assessment initiative. Currently, a toolkit and studies are promoted throughout PALNI in efforts to better meet the overall needs of our patrons.
Commitment to Deep Collaboration
With the increase in collaborative initiatives, budgetary cut-backs, and pressure to prove value, the PALNI Board unanimously approved the Commitment to Deep Collaboration describing their vision for the consortia.
KB/LM Needs Open Up New Type of Hire
PALNI added a KnowledgeBase/License Manager which was the first position to be completely responsible for the management of a functional library-based area.
Celebrating 25 Years!
April 2017 marks the 25-year anniversary for the PALNI organization! From sharing a catalog to sharing staff, PALNI continues to innovate and collaborate deeper than ever before.
Twenty-five participants joined the Reference, Instruction, and Outreach (RIO) group in August 2016 for Camp RIO at Merry Lea Environmental Center. Camp RIO is a professional development opportunity for Reference, Instruction, and Outreach librarians involved in PALNI. Camp RIO is similar to a conference, with focused sessions and content, but yet different—held in a relaxed rural location, with time to reflect in nature and connect with colleagues.
Loss of Saint Joseph's College
PALNI-supported institution Saint Joseph's College closes it doors due to increased financial deficits.
Scholarly Communications Director Hire
PALNI hired a Scholarly Communications Director to promote the development of a consortia-wide repository for institutional research and publications, faculty and student works, data sets, and emerging digital scholarship. She also leads the effort to raise awareness of scholcomm issues, including open access publishing and open educational resources.
New Strategic Plan Focused on Affordable Education
With growing economic pressures and financial burden, PALNI works to align their efforts with the needs of the supported institutions. The new strategic plan is more streamlined than ever before and focuses on utilizing deep collaboration practices to aid affordable education initiatives, enhance existing library services, and support faculty and student success.
Shared E-Resources Added: JSTOR and Oxford Deal
PALNI collaborated with the Academic Libraries of Indiana (ALI) to negotiate ebook discounts with Oxford and JSTOR. These books can be used in the classroom as supplements or course textbooks.
Bethel College and Saint Mary's College Join PALNI
PALNI welcomes two new institutions to the consortium: Bethel College and Saint Mary's College. New expertise from both schools will aid the consortium to increase collaboration efforts and enhance traditional services.
Open Access Publishing (PALNI Press) Launched
PALNI launches the PALNI Press ,providing the capacity to create and host open-access journals. The first journal went live in spring 2018 on the platform. "Vision: A journal for Church and Theology" has been published semi-annually in print since 2000.
OneButton Application Implemented
OneButton application is a successful development project that reduces the number of clicks by the user to request a book from the library, ILL, and/or PALShare. What once took 3+ clicks, scrolling, and decision-making on the part of the user, now takes a single click and the system chooses the best option.
Affordable Education Initiative Launched: PALSave
Today's students are facing ever-increasing financial expenses with traditional textbook prices contributing to the pressure. To combat rising textbook costs and their detrimental effects on student success and retention, PALNI launched the PALSave: PALNI Affordable Learning initiative.
PALNI Joins the Open Textbook Network
PALNI joined the Open Textbook Network (OTN) as the first step to further its initiatives for affordable education and student success across the state. OTN maintains the Open Textbook Library, and is well known for helping organizations advance the use of open textbooks and practices on their campuses.
Camp RIO 2018 was held at Waycross Conference Center. The theme was Intentional Teaching, and each session walked attendees through teaching strategies for librarians. Susan Adams, Associate Professor for Middle/Secondary Education at Butler University, was the guest speaker for the event, offering attendees practical and helpful advice for becoming intentional teachers. Along with Susan, the RIO Coordinators and Steering Committee led the workshop sessions. Other PALNI librarians offered a wide range of camping activities, such as crafts, hiking, and a book club discussion.
Franklin's Wellness Project Receives Innovation Grant
Denise Shorey, Director of Franklin College's Hamilton Library, received a grant to transform a current spot on the library's first floor into a destress and collaborative zone called The Lounge for students, faculty and staff. The students are able to express themselves in this area with low-tech materials such as coloring books, jigsaw puzzles and games, which have been shown to promote mindfulness and stimulate creativity.
Butler's Augmented Reality Project Receives Innovation Grant
The Butler University Libraries received the grant to develop an augmented reality (AR) experience. The proposed AR experience integrates active learning into library instruction and provides students with real-time information regarding the library spaces they are viewing.
PALNI Partners With PALCI to Launch Hyku
PALNI and Pennsylvania Academic Library Consortium, Inc. (PALCI) partner to pilot Hyku— an open source institutional repository project that presents a multitenant system suitable for management at the consortial level. Hyku will enable PALNI to create an Institutional Repository customizable for each school while retaining consortia management from the backend—a "Collaborative Consortial Institutional Repository."
WRLC Partnership Provides Islandora Services
PALNI partners with the Washington Research Library Consortium (WRLC) for Islandora hosting and support. Islandora is one of the solutions identified to explore for PALNI's shared institutional repository, the other being Hyku. Islandora can also be used to host cultural heritage material, and we'll be looking at how well Islandora can replace CONTENTdm so that we can minimize costs and systems to be supported.
Future Framing Task Force Created
The Future Framing Task Force aims to develop a plan to respond proactively to financial pressures facing PALNI's supported institutions, including significant declines in higher education enrollments projected for the Midwest by 2025. The plan was geared to sustaining PALNI collaboration and strengthening PALNI's supported libraries and institutions over a 10-year horizon from 2020-30.
PALSave Project Garners Lilly Endowment Support
Indianapolis-based Lilly Endowment, Inc. awards $520,000 to PALNI for PALSave, an affordable education initiative that combats rising textbook costs and their detrimental effects on student success and retention.
Affordable Learning Project Coordinator Added
An Affordable Learning Coordinator was added to provide project support for the grant-based PALSave: PALNI Affordable Learning program. Working with the Scholarly Communications Director, she coordinates efforts to educate faculty about Open Educational Resources (OER) and supports the use of affordable alternatives to commercial textbooks.
Hyku for Consortia Project Awarded IMLS Grant
The Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) awards $172,172 to the Pennsylvania Academic Library Consortium, Inc. (PALCI) in partnership with PALNI for Scaling Up a Collaborative Consortial Institutional Repository as part of the National Leadership Grants for Libraries Program. With this award, the partners will develop and pilot an affordable, open-source, and collaborative institutional repository solution based on the Hyku software.
Butler's Photogrammetry Project Receives Innovation Grant
PALNI awarded the 2019 PALNI Innovation Grant to Butler University for their proposal, Making Cultural Heritage Artifacts into 3D Digital Objects using Photogrammetry. Butler's interest in using photogrammetry to teach, preserve and give access to 3D special collection materials was cross-departmental between the library, Center for Academic Technology, and the Butler Art Committee.
Future Planning Board Retreat
Using the environmental scanning information provided by the Future Framing Task Force, the Board identified and planned for the most significant risks for the consortium as a whole and for individual supported organizations. The retreat focused on how to mitigate risks using deep collaboration, partnerships, and strategizing services while containing service costs and fees.
Library Impact Assessment Tool Released
PALNI worked with The IDEA Center to create a freely available assessment survey focused on the educational role and institutional effectiveness of the library. The results of the Assessment of Library Impact and Value survey provide insights on how best to implement improvements, allocate resources, and communicate with campus stakeholders at PALNI institutions.
Communications and Member Support Coordinator Added
The Communications and Member Support Coordinator position was created to fill the need for increased communication support and event planning. The coordinator assists the Communications and Marketing Director in creating engaging stakeholder materials, photography, web design, and social media.
PALNI Joins the Partnership for Shared Book Collections
PALNI is one of many to develop this partnership to protect and preserve scholarly print books. The newly formed Partnership for Shared Book Collections takes this work to the next level by coordinating collaboration for the protection of print books. PALNI Executive Director, Kirsten Leonard, is also voted in as the new group's first chair of the executive committee in recognition of PALNI's success in collaboration.
Institutional Repository Project Coordinator Added
An Institutional Repository (IR) Project Coordinator was added to provide support for the collaborative institutional repository. Working with the Scholarly Communications Director, he coordinates efforts to operationalize the consortium-wide IR, including training and procedure documentation.
Publishing Services Admin Team Created
This team provides support for library publishing activities at PALNI-supported institutions under the PALNI Press. Members work collectively to address local barriers to library publishing, engage with the library publishing community, and monitor the landscape for new developments in this area.
PALSave Kicks Off Course Redesign Grants
The PALSave Course Redesign Grant program offers $500 stipends to teaching faculty as an incentive to adopt zero-cost textbooks. Zero-cost textbooks may include open educational resources (OER), library ebooks, or other materials available to students at no cost. This program is made possible by a five-year Lilly Endowment, Inc. grant to support our PALSave affordable learning initiative.
New 2020-23 Strategic Framework
Based on the extensive environmental scanning completed by the Future Framing Task Force and informed by the Future Planning Board Retreat, a new strategic framework was designed. The new plan strives to address the institutional economic challenges and college affordability for students while maintaining and improving on student success and retention. Underlying each pillar is continual engagement with stakeholders and an analysis of needs.
PALNI Statement on Supported Institution Financial Challenges
Alongside the new 2020-23 Strategic Framework focused on affordability and student success, PALNI issued a statement to address the coming decline of student enrollment and financial hardship of the institutions.
PALNI Study of Student and Faculty Habits (INAP) Completed
The PALNI Study of Student and Faculty Habits (INAP) was conducted from 2016-20. This study sought to discover the information seeking behaviors of members in our campus communities, some of whom may never interact with the library. It was conducted on 10 PALNI campuses.
PALNI Pilots Hyku Institutional Repository Software
For the first time, new repositories can be created on the live Hyku Commons platform (in partnership with PALCI), allowing PALNI schools to provide digital access to scholarship, institutional records, archival collections and more.
Strategic Communications Director Added
Upon the departure of PALNI's Communications and Marketing Director, the Strategic Communications Director position was added. She is responsible for identifying, optimizing, and managing PALNI communication systems—including highlighting the value of the library to stakeholders, managing crisis communications and more.
PALNI Receives ARPA Grant to Launch Initiative in Open Bibliographic Data Management
PALNI receives an American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) grant of $225,000 from the U.S. Institute of Museum and Library Services, administered by the Indiana State Library. The planning grant enables PALNI to identify ways of expanding current infrastructure to support open bibliographic data management tools, which library staff use to manage and share collections. The project aims to significantly enhance financial sustainability and access to information, allowing libraries to further deliver on their critical role in student success.
Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College Joins PALNI
PALNI announces the addition of Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College to its list of supported institutions, bringing the total number of PALNI schools to 24.
PALNI Receives Additional Funding From Lilly Endowment, Inc. in Support of PALSave
Lilly Endowment, Inc. awards PALNI a $275,000 grant to support PALSave, the consortium’s affordable learning initiative. The new funding comes on the heels of a 2019 Lilly Endowment grant of $520,000 in support of PALSave. The $795,000 in total funding is helping to create significant savings for Indiana college students.
Outstanding Consortial and Library Staff Honored
PALNI recognized 17 library and consortial staff members for outstanding service, deep collaboration, leadership and more during its biennial All-Staff Meeting and Awards Ceremony.
Library Innovation Grant Awarded to Three Institutions
PALNI awarded Library Innovation Grants to DePauw University, Taylor University, and the University of Saint Francis in support of their creative ideas for enhancing student learning and success. Funded proposals included:
DePauw — Controlled Digital Lending Infrastructure Project
Taylor — Improving Student Success by Providing Quiet Study Space
USF —Creating Innovative, Interactive, and Engaging Online Tutorials for Student Success
Board of Directors Endorses ICOLC Statement on the Metadata Rights of Libraries
PALNI's Board of Directors unanimously endorsed ICOLC's Statement on the Metadata Rights of Libraries. The statement urges all organizations to support libraries' rights and interests to use, re-use, adapt, aggregate, and share metadata without restriction or limitation.
Strategies for Collaboration
In efforts to leverage open infrastructure, the ICOLC Strategies for Open Collaboration in Library Consortia Task Force—which includes PALNI Executive Director Kirsten Leonard—released a report titled Strategies for Collaboration: Opportunities and Challenges to Build the Future We Need.
PALNI Celebrates 30 Years of Excellence
The consortium and its libraries commemorated three decades of advancing private higher education in Indiana through deep collaboration and innovation.