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Notes from Executive Director Scott Garrison – June 2022

MCLS invests in innovation for libraries

At their May 6 meeting, the MCLS Board of Directors accepted MCLS’s FY23 budget, which includes investments we will make using some reserve funds to foster innovation and advance diversity, equity, inclusion, justice, and accessibility (which we abbreviate as DEIJA) for the libraries we serve, the broader library community, and library users. This month, I’ll share some information about several initiatives in which I invite and encourage you to get involved; contact me at to learn how.

  1. Project ReShare, ReShare Returnables: continuing from our first three years of investment in Project ReShare, MCLS will invest $150,000 to accelerate core ReShare Returnables functionality development for all types of libraries, including a robust back end infrastructure, and record matching and de-duplication methods.Seventy-one academic libraries are currently live on ReShare Returnables 1.8. Our goal with this investment is to continue supporting ReShare Returnables to become viable for multitype consortia and statewide resource sharing programs. Project ReShare is an innovative, standards-based, and interoperable open system built through robust collaboration in an active community, which facilitates a library service that users value highly.
  1. Project ReShare, Controlled Digital Lending (CDL): MCLS will match the Boston Library Consortium’s investment of $100,000 to help fund CDL minimum viable product (MVP) functionality for library consortia in Project ReShare. Some of this functionality will overlap with returnables and non-returnables.Following early efforts during the COVID-19 pandemic (i.e., from Internet Archive and HathiTrust), a growing number of libraries are becoming interested in how to do CDL. Our goal with this investment is to support creating a non-proprietary, open approach to circulating materials in new ways when libraries must suspend access to physical collections. Learn more at the June 15 CDL Implementers Forum online meeting, or contact me with any questions.
  1. DEIJA, Reveal Digital Behind the Scenes of the Civil Rights Movements and Documenting White Supremacy and its Opponents (DWSO) in the 1920s collections: MCLS will invest $100,000 to help fund digitization for two primary source collections documenting the history of civil rights and racism in the U.S. Behind the Scenes will begin with the Black experience, and later collections will focus on the Latinx, Indigenous, and Asian/Pacific Islander communities. MCLS is delighted to join the Big Ten Academic Alliance in their support for digitizing the Behind the Scenes collection.Our goal with this investment is to make content available to better reflect the experiences and perspectives of communities that are underrepresented in digital collections. Once MCLS contributes, our member libraries will gain access to materials digitized to date for DWSO, and Reveal Digital will make a minimum of six “White Supremacy Opponent” newspapers from multiple U.S. cities available in open access. According to Reveal Digital, the DWSO collection is particularly relevant to MCLS members because, “the newspaper content in DWSO exposes how the Ku Klux Klan presented hateful rhetoric against Black, Catholic, and Jewish people (and new immigrants), and how opposition newspapers countered the Klan’s narrative. Indiana and Michigan were both strongholds of both forces during the 1920s.” When these collections are fully digitized, they will both be available in Open Access.

MCLS also has other innovation investments on the horizon, which I’ll cover in future Notes from the Executive Director articles.

I thank the MCLS Board of Directors for supporting the initiatives I describe above. As always, I would like to hear your ideas about how MCLS can continue doing what we’re all about: helping libraries embrace the challenges of contemporary library practice, develop innovative solutions, foster robust collaboration, and facilitate transformative learning. Contact me anytime at