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4. Underlying Organizational and Funding Models

Behind each repository stands an organizational and financial infrastructure that supports and sustains activities and operations. The organizational and governance models and financial systems adopted have some traits in common; however, they vary from one repository to the next. These differences have implications for the repositories’ programs and activities and for the relationships between the member libraries and universities.

The repositories operate under three kinds of governance or organizational models. Some are operated by a state system or agency. Others are developed and run by independent consortia. Yet others are operated by a single university or corporation but provide services to others on a fee basis. There are also hybrids-consortia where a single member plays a leading role or state-operated repositories where services are provided for a fee to private libraries or libraries that are not part of the system.

All three models generally have a dual governance structure, wherein overall direction of the facility is separated from management of day-to-day operations. An advisory or governing board usually oversees general policy matters, such as the kinds of materials accepted, the allocations of space to the depositing libraries, and the apportionment of individual libraries’ share of operating costs. Such boards also guide general investment and budgetary strategy and future development of the repository. Management of the facilities’ operations is usually the responsibility of one of the member colleges or universities. This entity oversees scheduling, workflow, logistics, and production.

The financial arrangements underlying creation and maintenance of the repositories vary. The participating institutions in state models make little investment in the repositories: funds for development and operation flow from the university system. The consortium model involves initial and continuing annual investments by all parties. Where a single university develops and administers the facility, funds are obtained from other depositing libraries through leasing fees and fees for services.

Relationships between the participating libraries also range from a simple landlord-tenant relationship to true partnerships between libraries. Collaboration in this case extends beyond the repository effort.

4.1 The State Model


The libraries participating in the state-funded repositories surveyed include universities within the UC and Ohio State University systems. These include primarily research universities such as UCLA, UC Berkeley, and the University of Cincinnati.


Ultimate authority over the California and Ohio regional repositories is held by state-level offices-the UC Office of the President (UCOP) and the Ohio Board of Regents (OBOR). In both states, these authorities created the facilities and maintain a significant measure of governance and budgetary control over them. Although operation of the repositories is delegated to individual university libraries within both state systems, state-level authorities exercise a more direct measure of control over the facilities than they do over the individual university libraries.

The repositories in California and Ohio are considered part of the state higher education capital program; as a result, they do not compete in priority with other host-campus capital needs. In Ohio, the facility directors develop their annual budgets in consultation with the OBOR. This direct accountability to the state is not surprising, because the facilities represent significant capital investments that benefit more than one university within the system.

In California, an administrative body exists for each repository. In the organization hierarchy, this body, the Regional Library Board (RLB), lies beneath the UCOP but above the individual university level. The RLB is appointed by the university’s provost and senior vice-president for academic affairs. The purpose of the boards is to bring the interests of the individual participating libraries and other stakeholders to bear on shaping the programs of the repositories. The RLBs are composed of the directors of the participating libraries, a representative of the Academic Affairs Division of UCOP, a representative of the UC Academic Senate, and a representative of the Librarians Association of UC. Nonvoting members are the state librarian of California (ex-officio, as a representative of public libraries), a representative of private academic libraries, and the directors of the Regional Library Facilities (ex officio). The directors of the repositories are responsible to the chairs of the respective RLBs on policy and program matters.

UC also has formed a Standing Committee on University-wide Library Collection Management Planning that is examining the roles and capabilities of the regional library facilities and will propose models for future development of the facilities. The committee consists of UC university librarians and reports to the UCOP.

The regional boards and the standing committee provide policy and programmatic direction for the repositories and have enabled cooperative-management and collection-sharing initiatives to take root. These boards, through representation of the individual university libraries in their governance, also ensure that the collective interests of the libraries are served.

On administrative and operational matters, the facility directors report to the university librarian at the respective host university. The host university libraries have managed the facilities on behalf of the UCOP since 1994. UCLA operates the SRLF and is its major “tenant”; its collections occupy 80 percent of the space in the facility. (The director of the SRLF also holds an appointment as director of library resource sharing at UCLA.) UC Berkeley operates the NRLF. (The current director of the NRLF also holds an appointment as director of libraries technology at Berkeley.)

In Ohio, there is less central coordination of repository activities by the state. Once the repositories were created, OBOR control became primarily budgetary. Individual host universities have played the strongest role in shaping the repositories’ programs and policies.11 The state set a general programmatic direction for the repositories, namely, they were to be high- and medium-density facilities for low-use materials in state university libraries. The OBOR then solicited and evaluated proposals from individual universities to develop the regional repositories and awarded funds to the successful bidders.

Interinstitutional advisory groups provide Ohio’s SWORD with input from the various collection constituencies, such as faculty, students, and librarians. One such group includes library deans from depositing libraries; the other is a project team of associate deans. The facility director meets regularly with the access services librarians from depositing libraries. Engagement of Ohio higher education authorities at the OBOR level is chiefly on matters of capital spending rather than policy.

System-level governance of the California and Ohio repositories suggests that they are more likely to favor system-wide interests and strategies, such as preserving the state’s collective corpus of scholarly resources and cost sharing in collection development, over the campus-specific priorities. This presumes, however, strong ongoing involvement at the system level, which has been more typical in California than in Ohio. In California, formal structures such as the RLBs and the Standing Committee on University-wide Library Collection Management Planning are loci for communication and cooperation among the individual universities and among such stakeholders as faculty, librarians, and UCOP and even libraries outside the system.

In Ohio, the initial goal set by the state-to provide cost-effective storage of collections for Ohio’s universities-was achieved. The system provides little incentive for the repositories to pursue further cooperative management strategies with the participating libraries and less leverage for the host institutions to foster such cooperation.

Funding Model

The capital and most of the operating funding for the California and Ohio repository facilities come from the respective state university systems. Funds for capital expenses and operations at California’s SRLF and NRLF are requested from the state each year by the UCOP as line items within the budgets of the responsible universities.12 These budget lines were initially provided by the state as part of the UCOP budget and resided there until the mid-1990s, when the responsibilities and budget lines were distributed to the chancellors of UC Berkeley and UCLA for the NRLF and SRLF, respectively. This change occurred amid statewide budget cuts, as part of an effort to more closely associate budget lines with the corresponding cost centers and avoid the appearance of excessive spending at the President’s level. Funds for the facilities are part of the larger university “lump-sum” library allotment. While technically the annual allocations to the facility are determined by the university librarian, their funding levels have remained relatively stable as line items since they were in the UCOP.

The Ohio repositories have a similar arrangement. The funding level for each repository is set by the OBOR, even though a host university administers the facility. These funding levels are determined by representatives (usually directors) of the libraries responsible for the repositories in direct consultation with the OBOR. The budget for each facility is passed down as a line item in each host university’s budget and then to the university library’s budget. The allocation is sacrosanct and may not be used for any other purpose. It is subject separately to across-the-board changes in the state higher education budget and can neither be sheltered from these nor encroached upon for other purposes. This provides the repositories a degree of immunity from shortfalls and shifts in budget priorities at the individual university level. At the same time, it renders the repository’s budget more sensitive to fluctuations in the state budget than the budget of host university library itself, which can often draw upon other sources of funding such as gifts and endowments.

By charter, the California regional facilities may obtain supplementary funds for services to non-UC library tenants.13 While in theory this activity could skew the repository’s program toward seeking greater revenue by increasing service to non-UC customers, safeguards are in place to prevent this. For example, it is clearly understood that direct budgetary authority for the repositories is held by the operating universities on behalf of the system.14 Moreover, the governance structures ensure that the policies and programmatic aspects of facilities serve the UC libraries’ interests first.

The drawback to the state-supported financial model is one that is often associated with so-called entitlement funding, namely, there is no direct correlation between the user’s investment and benefits derived. Since the individual libraries are not required to pay for use of the state repositories, they have a considerable incentive to use the facilities but no incentive to invest in optimizing that use. De-duplication, last-copy, and other programs to rationalize selection and population of the repositories are likely to have few subscribers under this system.15 Conversely, with the state-supported model, the program of the repositories relies upon the availability of resources at the state level; it is therefore more sensitive to the priorities and interests of the state and university than to those of the constituent libraries. For this reason, the libraries’ individual needs for space and services may not be as strong a driving force for the repositories.

4.2 The Consortium Model


The libraries participating in the consortium repositories surveyed included large private universities, such as Columbia, Princeton, and George Washington, and private four-year colleges and universities, such as Oberlin, Wooster, Amherst, and Hampshire. The NYPL, a member of the ReCAP consortium, is the only nonacademic library to participate in a repository consortium. Individually, most of the repositories serve academic libraries of comparable size or governance. All the CONStor libraries, for instance, are private liberal arts colleges. Two of the repository consortia, however, bring together different types of libraries. ReCAP links two private universities and one public institution, the NYPL. The Five Colleges of Massachusetts repository serves four private colleges and one state university. WRLC serves six private and two public universities, ranging in size from 2,000 to more than 20,000 students.


Four of the repositories surveyed are operated by separately incorporated, not-for-profit organizations or consortia formed by the participating universities or libraries. Three of the consortia were originally formed to undertake a wide range of cooperative activities. The consortia that operate the Five Colleges repository in Massachusetts, CONStor, and the WRLC predate creation of the repositories.

Five Colleges, Inc., of Massachusetts and the Five Colleges of Ohio administer a broad range of cooperative activities for the participating colleges and universities, while ReCAP and WRLC were created to facilitate specific library-related activities. ReCAP’s initial mission was to establish the repository facility. WRLC participants joined forces to effect a set of collection-related initiatives: development of a common integrated library system, cooperative collection development, and digital library development, as well as the shared off-site storage repository.

Governance of the consortium repositories is centralized: the directors of the facilities receive policy and programmatic direction from the consortia’s governing boards. In the older consortia these boards usually hold sway over the consortium’s nonlibrary activities as well. The CONStor repository, for instance, operates under the aegis of The Five Colleges of Ohio,16 a corporation governed by the presidents of the five colleges, who also serve as the group’s board of directors. Both the CONStor facility director and the coordinator for collection development are employees of the Five Colleges of Ohio, Inc., and report to the library directors. Consortium operations and programs are monitored by the consortium executive director, who is an ex-officio member of the Library Directors’ committee and reports to the Operating Committee, which consists of the chief financial officers of the five colleges, and to the Board.

The WRLC director reports to a board of directors consisting of presidents of the member universities, and the director and her staff are employees of the consortium corporation. The director receives operational direction from the WRLC directors.

ReCAP is governed by a board of directors comprising the three library directors, associate provosts from Princeton and Columbia, and the senior vice president for administration, finance, and business affairs at the New York Public Library. (The last currently serves as the president of the consortium.) The executive director of the ReCAP facility reports to this board.

Consortium governance promotes cooperation among the participating libraries and helps ensure that programs and policies reflect the interests and priorities of the entire community of member institutions. At ReCAP this is enforced by a requirement in the consortium’s bylaws that all major policy decisions regarding the repository be reached unanimously by the board.

Representation on the university administration level is also likely to shape the repositories’ programs around the larger agendas of the participating universities. Where there is a longstanding collective agenda to strengthen combined library research holdings, as there is at the Five Colleges of Massachusetts and the Five Colleges of Ohio, the program of the repository is more likely to be designed to advance that agenda through cooperative collection development and sharing than in cases where no such tradition exists.

The operations of consortia repositories are sometimes placed under one of the consortium member libraries. Such is the case with ReCAP, where the facility director and staff are employees of Princeton University. For ReCAP, this is a practical way of minimizing the administrative load on the actual governing authority.

The director of the Massachusetts Five-College repository is custodian of the collection jointly held by the consortium, but not manager of the facility, owned by Amherst, that houses both the consortium collection and some of Amherst’s own holdings. The director reports to the college librarian of Amherst College, but in managing the deposit collections is under the jurisdiction of a Librarians’ Council that is composed of the library directors of the five member institutions. The council sets policies for the repository but does not make decisions on selection. (The Five College Collection Management Group determines what will go to the facility and sets the schedule; faculty members participate in the selection decisions and are able to veto proposals for some materials.) The University of Massachusetts does not have a voice in decisions about the materials of the other libraries, and vice versa.

In arrangements where one consortium library plays a greater role in operation of the repository than others do, some might fear that the interests of that library would prevail over those of the other libraries or of the consortium at large. In practice, however, strong, formalized governance and financial policies and procedures can level the playing field. Administrative mechanisms, such as ReCAP’s requirement that policy and program decisions be unanimous, strengthen this assurance.

Funding Model

The capital and operating budgets for the consortium repositories are derived from consortium members. In most cases, the individual participating libraries make initial investments to develop the facility. Thereafter, they make annual payments to support costs of operations.

In the case of ReCAP, the three consortium libraries each contributed a third of the $3 million needed to purchase the land for the facility, which subsequently became the property of the consortium. The libraries jointly funded construction of the facility; individual contributions were based on the scale of each institution’s need for the storage space. WRLC’s facility was funded by a grant from the U.S. Department of Education under the Graduate Academic Facilities program. The property was donated by Prince George’s County, Maryland. The ReCAP facility and the WRLC facility are thus owned and fully controlled by the respective consortia.

The Five Colleges of Massachusetts and the CONStor facilities are housed in pre-existing buildings that were renovated and adapted for collections storage by the consortia. The Five Colleges of Massachusetts facility is owned by Amherst College, which leases space to the consortium on an annual basis. The CONStor repository is leased by the consortium from its owner, a for-profit organization not otherwise affiliated with the consortium or its university members. These leasing arrangements present higher degrees of risk to the long-term maintenance of the repository, because control of the facility is not fully under the control of the consortium.

Members’ annual contributions to operating costs are usually based on an a priori formula. At WRLC, members pay equal shares of the fixed operating costs of the storage facility. Member libraries receive the right to the use of storage space (on a first-come, first-served basis) and to retrieval and delivery of items. They pay separately for the one-time direct cost of transporting and accessioning materials into the facility on a per-volume basis.

At ReCAP, a sophisticated cost-allocation model divides costs into activity costs and fixed (storage) costs. Activity costs are nonfixed labor costs plus an administrative charge paid to Princeton. Activity costs are allocated to members on a pro rata basis as determined by the “activity units” generated by each member each year. The remaining storage costs are apportioned among the three institutions at the rates of 43 percent each for NYPL and Columbia and 14 percent for Princeton. The fees reflect the amount of space expected to be occupied in the facility by each library over an initial three-year period. (Princeton’s need for space was less critical at the time of development.) The initial apportionment will be renegotiated when the fourth module is completed.

The Five Colleges of Massachusetts have a relatively constant apportionment for each of the participating libraries’ share of the annual costs of operating the facility. That share is based on an “elevenths formula.”17

Each CONStor library is assessed 20 percent of the annual operating budget for the storage facility. In return, each library can assume use of the same percentage of the total storage space at the repository. This system encourages use of the facility by not penalizing the heavy users, but it is probably not scalable, since at some point the low users’ contributions (in absolute terms and in relation to the heavy users’ fees) will no longer be cost-effective.

An arrangement under which member fees are apportioned on the basis of specific need, such as their immediate or near-term demand for space, can pose a problem for consortia. It does not ensure the equitable contribution of members to the longer-term goals of the consortium. Members who in the past have not invested heavily in building their own collections are less likely to bring to cooperative efforts the same assets, material or monetary, as do mature, historically strong research libraries.

Conversely, when consortium members’ apportioned contributions to the operating costs of the repository are unequal, those who bear the larger share of the funding might exert a greater influence on the repository’s program. Again, these potential imbalances can be offset by appropriate governance and financial policies and procedures.18

4.3 The Proprietary Model


The Library Service Center is operated by a single party, Duke University. LSC was developed and is administered by Duke University Libraries, the governing authority for the humanities, sciences, and social sciences libraries. These libraries share space in the repository with the libraries of the university’s four major schools: business, divinity, law, and medicine. The heads of the latter four libraries each report to the dean of the respective school and operate independently of the Duke University Libraries administrative unit, which is headed by the vice provost for library affairs and university librarian.

The university provides funding for the LSC as part of the central libraries budget. The facility is part of the university’s effort to coordinate collections management among campus libraries, which have traditionally acted independently. Within the last five years, the university libraries have begun to move toward coordinating services and functions for all of the libraries. They introduced a common automated cataloging system. The libraries are also conducting a preservation assessment of collections campus-wide.

The facility was developed with an eye to providing storage space for other university libraries in the Triangle Research Libraries Network. To date, only one such library, the UNC at Chapel Hill’s Health Sciences Library, uses the facility. Storage and related services are provided to UNC for an annual fee.

Funding Model

Capital and operating funds for the LSC are supplemented by fees derived from various repository-related activities. The LSC currently houses about 250,000 volumes from the UNC Health Sciences Library in return for a set annual payment, based on the amount of material stored and transaction-based fees for collection-related services provided by the LSC (for example, ILL, DD, and photocopying). This model resembles that of the Harvard Book Depository, which is formally affiliated with only one university but leases space to others.

Some consortium-run repositories derive modest revenues in exchange for providing storage and related services to nonparticipating libraries and organizations. For example, non-consortium libraries may store materials at the WRLC facility for a fee, providing those materials are available for use by consortium libraries. Such materials are not interfiled with consortium library materials.19 Departments other than the main library at WRLC member institutions may store materials at the repository on a space-available, cost-recovery basis. Such materials include university records, artwork, special materials related to faculty or departmental grants, and materials belonging to the law or medical libraries. Direct costs are recovered through charges for accessioning, retrieval, and refiling; shelf storage (to recover prorated share of utilities and other building expenses); and administration.

Some state repositories, such as California’s SRLF, derive modest fees for microfilming and other services provided to consortium members and nonmembers.

When storage and affiliated services are provided on a fee-for-service basis, whether by a single university or a consortium, the relationship between the facility and depositing library is more akin to a landlord-tenant relationship than to the relationship between repository and consortium members. The depositing organizations are normally not eligible to participate in governance of the facilities, and they do not have any significant investment in the welfare of the repository.20 Under such arrangements the “tenants” are not likely to be strongly motivated to support necessary capital improvements or other measures that advance the facility’s broader, long-term goals.


11 Although OhioLink, a state-level organization to promote cooperative action among the Ohio libraries, was set up at the same time as the repositories, it is only loosely affiliated with them.

12 For the SRLF, UCLA augments these with salaries for FTE staff devoted to processing of UCLA materials, and shares the cost of a delivery truck and driver that serves the SRLF in the morning and the UCLA campus in the afternoon.

13 The terms of the regional library facilities’ charter stipulate that a minimum of 10 percent of the space in regional library facilities be set aside for non-UC libraries. Under this kind of arrangement, the SRLF provides Loyola Marymount temporary “dead storage” of about 65,000 volumes.

14 The California Digital Library also contributes funds for resource-sharing projects.

15 The University of California set a minimum deposit target for each university library of 10,000 volumes per year. Although the minimum has not been strictly enforced, university libraries’ requests for on-campus capital expansion are considered with reference to their meeting these targets.

16 The Five Colleges of Ohio is a nonprofit corporation founded in 1995 with funding from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

17 The projected annual operating costs are divided by 11, and each college pays an agreed-on portion, based on its size and the expectation of how much the space materials originally owned by the college will occupy. The current breakdown is Hampshire College 1/11; Smith, Mt. Holyoke, and Amherst 2/11 each; and University of Massachusetts 4/11.

18 This suggests that the University of Massachusetts might exert a larger influence on the Five Colleges repository’s program than any of the other libraries individually. This has not thus far been the case, as the University’s vote is balanced by the combined interests of the four private colleges of the consortium, whose longstanding ties and common interests create a countervailing solidarity.

19 The WRLC informed the public that because of space limitations no new materials from nonmember libraries would be accepted. This policy was effective February 1, 2002. 20 The regional library boards governing California’s the Regional Library Facilities set aside a non-voting seat for a representative of a non-UC depositing library.

20 The regional library boards governing California’s the Regional Library Facilities set aside a non-voting seat for a representative of a non-UC depositing library.


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