EUGENE, Oregon, October 10, 2013 — The Orbis Cascade Alliance is celebrating its 20th anniversary as a consortium serving colleges and universities in the Northwest U.S. Twenty years ago, academic libraries in Oregon and Washington independently created two state-based consortia named Orbis and Cascade. Over the course of the last twenty years, these two consortia merged and the resulting Alliance launched new programs and grew from 11 to 37 member colleges and universities across a three-state region. The consortium is now a nonprofit corporation with an international reputation for its visionary and cohesive membership and broad array of innovative services. The Orbis Cascade Alliance serves the equivalent of more than 260,000 full-time students across Oregon, Washington, and Idaho and, through its non-member services, the consortium works with 280 libraries, museums, archives, and historical societies in seven western states.
To commemorate its 20th anniversary the Alliance is awarding three $2,500 Professional Development Awards to staff from member libraries. Recipients of these awards, funded through contributions from members, vendors, and friends of the Alliance, will be announced at a 20th Anniversary celebratory dinner in November 2013. This event will include former deans and directors of member libraries, former staff of the Alliance, and selected vendor partners. The Alliance is also creating 20th Anniversary posters, sponsoring a silent auction, and Lynn Chmelir, retired library director and former Alliance staff member, is preparing a history of the consortium for publication next year. “I have had the good fortune to work for the Alliance and at several member libraries over the course of my career and it is exciting to see how far this group has come,” said Chmelir. “It is a real pleasure to work on a history of this interesting and successful organization.”
“When I arrived in the northwest five years ago,” recalled Chris Shaffer, Board Chair and Director at Oregon Health & Science University, “I was amazed by the ambition of this united group of libraries.” “I am honored to serve as Chair as we implement a new shared library management system and celebrate two decades of collaborative success.”
“The Orbis Cascade Alliance has grown and become more complex,” stated John F. Helmer, Executive Director, “but the spirit of this group has, if anything, grown over the last 20 years.” “No deep collaborative effort succeeds to this degree without the vision and hard work of many individuals.” “We are so very fortunate to draw on fantastic staff at all levels, from entry level to deans and directors,” said Helmer. “This organization is truly a labor of love and dedication for many people.”
About the Orbis Cascade Alliance
The Orbis Cascade Alliance is a consortium of 37 academic libraries in Oregon, Washington, and Idaho serving faculty and the equivalent of more than 260,000 full time students. Alliance member libraries work together to provide services to students and faculty, share information resources and expertise, develop library staff, and help members allocate financial and human resources to serve the unique needs of each member. The Alliance supports a number of services that support this vision, including a next-generation Shared Integrated Library System; collaborative technical services program; Summit, a system that allows students, faculty and staff to easily search and request library materials owned by member libraries; courier service providing daily delivery of library materials in Oregon, Washington and Idaho; Northwest Digital Archives, offering enhanced access to primary sources; cooperative collection development; an Alliance distributed print repository; consortium-wide participation in the Western Regional Storage Trust (WEST); cooperative purchasing of databases and ejournals, and a demand driven shared ebook program. In addition to its members, the Alliance extends selected services to more than 280 libraries, museums, archives, and historical societies in seven western states.
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