Planning for MassLNC's Future

Since December, a task force with representatives from each of the MassLNC networks has been meeting to discuss the future direction of the Massachusetts Library Network Cooperative. The cooperative formed around a LSTA-funded grant for the three networks to work together as they implemented separate instances of an open-source library system and to spearhead joint development projects. With the grant-funded development projects coming to a close and the upcoming go-live dates for C/W MARS and NOBLE, it was time to think about the long-term plans for the project, decide if continued cooperation is desired, and identify needs for continued centralized staffing (if any).

The formation of the Task Force came on the heels of presentations made to each of the networks last fall during which Projector Coordinator Kathy Lussier presented various business models that could be implemented to support MassLNC activities. At these meetings, library directors had the opportunity to provide initial feedback to the models. The Task Force considered the results of this feedback when developing its recommendations.

At the first Business Planning Task Force meeting, participants first settled the question of whether cooperation among the three networks should continue. The networks found that there have been great cost efficiencies in collaborating on development and hoped that even more cost efficiences could arise as the project moves forward. They have also seen many benefits in the discussions and sharing that have occurred amongst each other and believe there will be less duplication if they continue cooperating. There was unanimous consensus that cooperation should continue, and the Task Force ultimately came up with the following recommendations:

  • Tto support centralized staffing in the form of a project coordinator.
  • To divide operational costs equally among participating networks while pro-rating any development contributions based on the size of the network's population.
  • To create an Executive Board to oversee MassLNC activities. This board will comprise the network administrator and two liaisons from each network; the MassLNC project coordinator (ex officio); and a MBLC liaison (ex officio).

The full recommendation will go to the memberships of each network for a final vote this spring. Many thanks to the Business Planning Task Force members for their hard work, great ideas and willingness to reach consensus. More details about the MassLNC Business Plan are available to library staff from the MassLNC participating networks who have a MassLNC account