For more than 35 years, the MIT Libraries have offered our community direct access to the collections of local and peer institutions — through the Boston Library Consortium (BLC), borrowing privileges at Harvard libraries, and, since 2011, the Ivies Plus BorrowDirect program. BorrowDirect is a resource-sharing partnership encompassing 12 Ivies Plus academic institutions, with a combined collection of more than 60 million items. As BorrowDirect has expanded to include additional members with extensive collections, the Libraries have decided to focus on this partnership while remaining an affiliate member of the BLC.
“Our aim is always to provide the best possible service to our users,” says Chris Bourg, director of the Libraries. “The Ivies Plus partnership not only serves the scholarly needs of our community by providing access to the vast collections of our peers, it also allows us to streamline the process of obtaining those items.”
Focusing resources on BorrowDirect allows the MIT Libraries to reduce redundancy and simplify the discovery and request process for users. The Libraries will maintain extensive access to regional collections while providing on-site visiting privileges to Ivies Plus libraries. In addition, the MIT Libraries’ strategic priorities align closely with those of Ivies Plus institutions. The group is becoming significantly more active in developing collaborative projects around web archiving, digital scholarship, and collaborative collection development.
“The MIT Libraries will be best served by focusing our resources on advancing these initiatives through Ivies Plus collaborations,” says Bourg.
The Ivies Plus partnership gives the MIT community unprecedented access to the collections of several large research libraries. The Duke University Libraries, one of the nation’s top 10 private research libraries with a combined collection of more than 6.8 million volumes, most recently became a member. Stanford University Libraries, with more than 9.3 million print volumes and millions more digital, audiovisual, and microform holdings, will join in the coming year. The participation of both institutions greatly expands access to deep collections of particular relevance to the MIT community.
The Libraries will continue our involvement with the BLC as an affiliate member, a category for libraries who share the research interests of the consortium but may not have the same resource-sharing needs. The collections of the BLC libraries will remain available to the MIT community through our Interlibrary Borrowing (ILB) service.
The Libraries will streamline our borrowing options and phase out components of the BLC service for MIT users during the spring 2016 semester. Watch for updates as this work progresses, and contact us with any questions.