On 5/19/15, Monesha and I attended the annual meeting of the NCICU Purchasing Committee, held this year at Wingate University in Wingate, NC. First, Lisa Larson from LYRASIS talked about some of her organization’s activities, with special emphasis on its involvement with Open Access initiatives. LYRASIS has partnered with libraries on several major OA projects including the Open Library of Humanities, Knowledge Unlatched, and SCOAP3. Digital preservation, too, is a growingly important part of LYRASIS’s work, and they are always interested in facilitating new projects. Finally, Ms. Larson advertised the fact that LYRASIS is happy to work with small groups of libraries (much smaller than LYRASIS’s massive overall membership) in order to establish focused communities of interest before pursuing small-scale consortium-type deals on products of niche, or at least non-universal, interest. Not all deals need be big, in other words.

Later, four brave panelists from NC LIVE debriefed attendees on their organization’s past, current, and future business. They will be updating their website and general web presence, having investigated streaming video-hosting solutions in order to improve functionality in that area. The panelists acknowledged poor communication regarding the large number of subscription package changes that occurred last year and about which member libraries were not unanimously pleased. I was struck by the inherent difficulty of attempting to provide consortial deals to such a variety of library types, from public, to small private academic, to large public academic libraries; in some ways, a state border can be a somewhat arbitrary boundary when it comes to unifying libraries in a common purpose. In order to succeed, NC LIVE must perform a balancing act, both in terms of the content it provides and its financial requirements. On the other hand arrangements such as ours with NC LIVE can be tremendously helpful in fostering statewide inter-institutional dialogue and providing needed budgetary relief.