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PALs begins second year

In early 2017, MCLS Group Purchasing issued a call for Product Advisory Librarians (PALs). At the time, we had a vague idea that you, our members, could help us do a better job of determining potential new vendors or products, and we could, in turn, provide you a secure place to discuss those products and vendors with us and with each other. With one year behind us, we want to share the results of our collaboration.

In our first year:

  • Fifty-five librarians representing all library types across both Indiana and Michigan reviewed 11 products from eight vendors.
  • PALs submitted 39 survey responses after completing trials and evaluating products from BiblioBoards, Auto Finance Center, Demco, Niche Academy, Press Reader, Reprints Desk, SirsiDynix, and Statista.
  • We started a new group purchase with Statista, based on your feedback and interest.
  • We provided all the vendors with valuable information to help them better align their offerings and products with member needs. Some of you may have even decided on direct purchases, in instances where a group purchase wasn’t warranted.

We also used what we learned from our members to create an Expression of Interest for new business prospects. This tool makes it easier for businesses who want to work with MCLS to understand what it means to work with a consortium — what our expectations are for our members in terms of value, service, and central licensing, as well as what we’ll provide in return as we work together to help our libraries maximize their budget dollars.

As we begin our second year of this group, we want to say thank you to all the PALs of MCLS for your time throughout the year. Your feedback was essential in helping Group Purchasing improve how we advocate on your behalf.

We are always looking for more feedback. If you’re interested in becoming a PAL, please complete this brief form. We typically reach out up to four times per year, with several trials for you to choose from each time. You would test drive products that interest you and answer a brief survey when you’re done. For more information, or if you have any questions, please email Group Purchasing at or call Chrystal Babbitt at (800) 530-9019 ext 401.