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and the Impact on Alliance Libraries Jim Kopp, Lewis & Clark College Doug Erickson, Lewis & Clark College James Fox, University of Oregon Orbis Cascade.

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Presentation on theme: "and the Impact on Alliance Libraries Jim Kopp, Lewis & Clark College Doug Erickson, Lewis & Clark College James Fox, University of Oregon Orbis Cascade."— Presentation transcript:


2 and the Impact on Alliance Libraries Jim Kopp, Lewis & Clark College Doug Erickson, Lewis & Clark College James Fox, University of Oregon Orbis Cascade Alliance Council July 12, 2007

3 So, George, what do you think about the state of cultural institutions in the Pacific Northwest? What’s the Pacific Northwest?

4 Other research Carolyn Singer, “The Future of History Organizations,” History News Vol. 61, No. 4 (Autumn 2006): 18-20. D. T. Mix, “Letter from Austin -- Final Destination: Why Do the Archives of So Many Great Writers End Up in Texas,” The New Yorker (June 11 & 18, 2007): 58-71. John H. Falk and Beverly K. Sheppard, Thriving in the Knowledge Age: New Business Models for Museums and Other Cultural Institutions (Lanham: Alta Mira Press, 2006). RBM: A Journal of Rare Books, Manuscripts and Cultural Heritage – Spring 2007 issue

5 What is a cultural institution? “ Cultural institutions are those places that carefully develop and organize collections (of art, of books, of animals) according to scholarly principles and make them freely available to the public. Examples of cultural institutions are museums, zoos, art galleries, historical societies, botanical gardens, and libraries of all kinds. Read that last part one more time: libraries of all kinds.” Kim Campbell “The secret cultural institution in your school: The school library” Learning NC (

6 Libraries as cultural institutions A favorite professor of mine once wrote “libraries are places where learners are destined to become free to live on their own horizons; they are our most lasting institutions for the exploration of possible worlds.” In the same piece, he also wrote about places that assist “the free explorer of the emerging senses…without external evaluations, impersonal curricula, artificial boundaries, constraining agendas, or ringing bells. This informality permits serendipitous discoveries and unplanned knowing to change the learner’s mind.”* My professor, Dr. David Carr, was writing about the nature of learning that is possible in cultural institutions, including the cultural institution that lies within the heart of the school: the school library. * Carr, David. “Living on one’s own horizon: cultural institutions, school libraries, and lifelong learning.” School Library Media Quarterly, Summer 1991: 217–22.

7 Our libraries as cultural institutions?

8 What’s your mission? The Alliance question: 20 out of 33 present “mission” in some manner 5 mention “mission” on library home page 12 mention “mission” after 1 click 3 mention “mission” after 2 click 13 did not seem to identify a mission

9 State of Cultural Institutions in the Northwest Historical Societies Oregon Historical Society Local Historical Societies Museums/Art Galleries Zoos/Botanical Gardens Libraries Academic Public

10 Oregon Historical Society Dodging a bullet “$2.8 million puts Oregon Historical Society on solid footing” “OHS aims to triple school children attendance by marketing to teachers, creating ‘learning center’” OREGONHERITAGE.COM: Now that the state has provided $2.8 million in funding for the next two years, OHS has options. Has the Board charged you with an overall strategic plan to implement? Have you developed tactics yet? What is the probability for the return of the OHS Oral History Program? OHS Press? The Oregon History Project (OHP)?OHS Oral History ProgramOHS PressOregon History Project GEORGE VOGT: The plan is still in discussion, and there will certainly be consideration of expanding programs; however, prudence dictates that we first balance the existing budget. The state money helps a lot but we still have a gap to close through regular fundraising and earned revenue. It does not automatically put a lot of cash on the table for restorations and new visions.

11 OHS OREGONHERITAGE.COM: Regarding OHP (Oregon History Project, currently directed by MaryAnn Campbell), have you decided how to move forward? What is the Society's vision for the OHS Research Library? What is the status of OHS's web-searchable database? Obviously this is a great e-commerce opportunity, what with the 50,000 or 60,000 photos and museum artifacts, but actually implementing the program takes scanning, and a commercial web- interface so users can order prints. How’s this going?Oregon History ProjectOHS Research Libraryweb-searchable database GEORGE VOGT: We're probably making the most progress in this area. OHP continues under MaryAnn's supervision, and the grant to produce the Timeline addition to that website is well under way. Ned and Sis Hayes have given us a large grant to update the IT systems, making possible Ned's dream of a significant e-commerce operation. We expect to have about 20,000 historical photos in a web-searchable data base by early 2008, with the ability to handle orders over the net. The museum collection database will not be far behind.a significant e-commerce operation OREGONHERITAGE.COM: I recall you mentioning last December that Wisconsin led a regional digital networking program with other libraries. Is this a possibility here in Oregon and the Pacific Northwest? GEORGE VOGT: I've asked some questions about this. There's moderate interest, but a lot of the energy is behind the Northwest Digital Archives (NDA) project.Northwest Digital Archives

12 OHS Band-Aid or Tourniquet? Still MANY issues Longer term viability Trust Leadership Attitude Competition vs. cooperation Ability to process materials Availability/Use

13 Local Historical Societies Aurora Colony Historical Society Longer term viability Trust/Leadership Inadequate space Attitude Competition vs. cooperation Ability to process materials Availability/Use Limited budget

14 Other agencies State Libraries Washington State Library Washington State Digital Library Resources Oregon State Library? Oregon State Historical Records Advisory Board?

15 Other factors

16 Questions for Alliance Libraries? What are the realistic roles of the other agencies? How do we know/ensure that other institutions (even within Alliance) can/will handle collections in a way that benefit other Alliance institutions? What products do/should we deliver? What is the priorities of digital projects? What is the role, if any, of the Alliance? What is our role for serving as the legacy of cultural heritage in the region?

17 Why is this important? “Read that last part one more time: libraries of all kinds.” -- We are cultural institutions.

18 Acting Locally, Thinking Strategically “The Future of History Organizations” (2006 Getty Leadership Institute/AASLH) “As history museum professionals heroically attempt to manage their institutions with appallingly few resources in terms of finances, personnel, and data, it is understandable why our attention has focused on immediate rather than long-term procedures. Yet, as a profession we must look to the long-term sustainability of the field as well as how emerging trends are affecting museums.” “The history museum field needs a systematic and system-wide understanding of itself, a thorough analysis of where it is today, how the sector is changing, why those changes are taking place, what they imply for the future, and what policy issues are involved.”

19 One final question? What is your legacy at your institution?

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