Skip to content

Statement on Supported Institution Financial Challenges

Issued May 19, 2020 I Printable Version

The Private Academic Library Network of Indiana (PALNI) is closely following the challenges facing private higher education in Indiana

Projected enrollment declines for regional schools in the Midwest in the next ten years1 and the economic and educational disruptions of COVID-192 have had and will continue to have a significant impact on PALNI’s supported institutions and their libraries. PALNI’s board of directors, composed of all of the 24 library deans and directors from the supported organizations, convened a Future Framing Task Force in 2019 to address the expected demographic challenges in higher education. The board has escalated this work in the wake of news about COVID-19 impacts as we seek to manage increased need for online support while reducing costs.

From its inception in 1992, the PALNI collaboration has been a key avenue for its supported institutions to contain costs while providing more effective library services.3 Supported by two rounds of major funding from Lilly Endowment, PALNI pioneered shared library automation services across the state of Indiana.4 More recently, PALNI has adopted a model of deep collaboration5 that pools resources and people as a tool to expand services while keeping costs down. PALNI’s strategic framework (adopted 2020) includes a pillar focused on affordability, including reducing and containing library costs to achieve sustainability for supported organizations.6 

To help address the financial challenges facing our institutions, the PALNI board of directors has made the commitment to hold flat the costs that are shared amongst our current organizations over the next 10 years. Simultaneously, PALNI is expanding collaboration within PALNI institutions and with external library partners to address our challenges and build cost-effective services.

How vendors can help

PALNI is calling for vendors and providers to:

  • Delay or reduce price increases
  • Allow for flexible renewal periods 
  • Create more granular tier structures that produce reduced pricing for institutions that decrease in enrollment
  • Create and propose solutions that enable libraries to pay LESS over the next 10 years rather than assuming annual increases. PALNI libraries are interested in finding solutions that decrease costs. 

PALNI’s deep collaboration approach, acclaimed by library experts,7 includes collaboration internally between the PALNI libraries as well as nationally and internationally with other library consortia.8 These collaborations aim to contain library costs while simultaneously improving student outcomes and faculty scholarship, a fundamental hallmark of PALNI’s deep collaboration. 

Examples of PALNI’s recent and key shared services and cost-containment initiatives

  • Centralizing key library contracts for library data to achieve a 19% savings for each library for FY21 and compounded savings going forward, through a newly negotiated contract. [Consolidate Purchasing]
  • Supporting the reduction of college costs and increased student success and retention through the PALSave Affordable Education Initiative (PALSave). The program, supported by a $520,000 Lilly Endowment grant, aids PALNI institutions to transform courses to incorporate no cost textbooks and to create new freely available textbooks. [Reengineered Processes]
  • Developing an ultra-low cost institutional repository through an IMLS grant and partnership with the Pennsylvania Academic Library Consortium, building expertise and reducing costs across the two consortia. [Modernize Technologies/Control Costs]
  • Creating and supporting a collaboration to ensure access to the major monograph collections across North America as a founding member of the Partnership for Shared Book Collections. [Shared Services]
  • Collection sharing through PALShare, running on PALNI’s shared instance of OCLC WorldShare Management Services, provides rapid delivery and consistent loan periods for resource sharing amongst PALNI libraries, enabling collaborative collection development to provide greater access to resources at reduced cost. Heightened focus on supporting online education. [Shared Services]
  • Reducing collection costs and supporting access to high impact resources through shared purchases such as Oxford University Press (saves institutions $77,000 each) and annual access to over $5.8 million dollars worth of JSTOR ebooks. [Consolidate Purchasing]
  • Achieving quality information services through shared staffing across the PALNI schools and centrally. We efficiently build deep expertise that is recognized nationally and internationally. [Shared Services]
  • Developing sustainable system costs through partnerships to develop open source systems for library systems. [Modernize Technologies/Control Costs]

Directors of the Board of the Private Academic Library Network of Indiana and Signatories to this Statement

Karl Stutzman, Director of Library Services, Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary

Cassaundra Bash, Director of Library Services, Ancilla College

Dr. Janet Brewer, Library Director, Anderson University

Mark Root, Director of Library Services, Bethel University

Dr. Julie Miller, Dean of Libraries, Butler University

Dr. Scott Seay, Director of Library and Information Services, Christian Theological Seminary

Rev. Prof. Robert Roethemeyer, The Wakefield-Kroemer Director of Library and Information Services and Vice President of Strategic Planning and Mission Execution, Concordia Theological Seminary

Rick Provine, Dean of Libraries, DePauw University

Neal Baker, Library Director, Earlham College

Denise Shorey, Director of Library Services, Franklin College

Fritz Hartman, Library Director, Goshen College

Tonya Fawcett, Director, Library Services, Grace College & Seminary

Kelly Joyce, Library Director, Hanover College

Anita Gray, Director of Library Services, Huntington University

Darla Haines, Interim Director, Manchester University

Jessica Trinoskey, Director of Library Services, Marian University

Dr. Denise Pinnick, Professor of Library Services, Oakland City University

Joseph Thomas, Library Director, Saint Mary’s College

Dr. Dan Kolb, Library Director, Saint Meinrad School of Theology

Dan Bowell, University Librarian, Taylor University

Kristina Brewer, Director for Graduate and Distance Information Services, Trine University

Marisa Albrecht, Library Director, University of Indianapolis

Maureen McMahan, Library Director, University of Saint Francis

Jeff Beck, Library Director, Wabash College

Kirsten Leonard, Executive Director, PALNI


Kirsten Leonard
PALNI Executive Director
(310) 752-6831
PALNI c/o Irwin Library
4553 Clarendon Road
Indianapolis, IN 46208
Email Kirsten Leonard


  1. Nathan D. Grawe, Demographics and the Demand for Higher Education (Baltimore, Maryland: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2018).
  2. Colleges Announce Furloughs and Layoffs as Financial Challenges Mount” accessed April 15, 2020.
  3. ‘Lucas, Vince; Fry, Larry; and Miller, Lewis R., “Technology Partnerships: The PALNI Success Story” (1999). Scholarship and Professional Work. 6. 
  4. Our History” accessed April 15, 2020.
  5. Commitment to Deep Collaboration,” accessed April 15, 2020.
  6. Strategic Framework 2020-2023,” accessed April 15, 2020.
  7. Arch, Xan and Gilman, Isaac, “Innovating for Impact: The next Evolution of Library Consortia” (2017). Library Faculty Publications and Presentations. 10; Dempsey, Lorcan (2019) “What Collaboration Means to Me: Library Collaboration is Hard; Effective Collaboration is Harder,” Collaborative Librarianship: Vol. 10: Iss. 4, Article 3. 
  8. Morris, Jill and Leonard, Kirsten (2020) “Collaborating Across Consortial Boundaries,” Collaborative Librarianship: Vol. 11 : Iss. 4, Article 4.