Volume 20, Number 2 | July 2022
We've got lots to celebrate this summer! Read on to learn about the good work happening at BC ELN.
Another Year of Doing More Together! BC ELN Receives Annual Funding
BC ELN partner libraries have another year ahead of supported, collaborative services and e-resources for students. The consortium has received confirmation of 2022-23 funding from the Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Training. This core funding, combined with project funding and staff time contributed by partner libraries, is essential to ongoing operations. BC ELN is thankful to the Ministry for this critical support.
AskAway and WriteAway Boosted by Ministry Funding
Excellent news for post-secondary learner support in BC: AskAway and WriteAway have been granted $60,000 in one-time funding from the Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Training (AEST). The bridge funding, to be divided equally between the services and expended over two years, provides additional support to service participants as they adjust to elevated student demands in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

During the pandemic, AskAway and WriteAway service providers helped record numbers of students looking for online research and writing assistance. Students continue to use these digital support services in high numbers, even as most in-person services have resumed. AEST’s bridge funding allows AskAway and WriteAway to further bolster staffing levels and meet this increased demand.
Arca Reduces Barriers to Participation with Collaborative Solution
Thanks to a collaborative approach and Arca’s flexible technology, smaller BC ELN partner libraries now have an opportunity to create a scaled-down institutional repository at a lower cost by sharing a site in Arca.

A recent survey revealed that several smaller BC ELN institutions interested in developing institutional repositories face funding and staffing barriers to joining Arca as full sites. Some also lack sufficient content to justify a standalone repository. Reflecting on this feedback, the Arca Advisory Committee approved the creation of an Arca Shared Site. Shared site participants will receive 50 GB of storage compared to full members’ 150 GB, and will pay a lower annual fee. Participants will have their own unique namespace, while site design and functionality will be determined by consensus.

A shared site will enable libraries to benefit from a digital repository at a reduced cost, join a growing community of practice in a supported environment, and potentially evolve into their own full Arca site in the future. BC ELN has reached out to partner libraries that have expressed interest, and an update will be shared as this initiative evolves.

Interested in joining, or learning more? Contact Sunni Nishimura, Arca Partnerships Coordinator.
New Tool ConsortiaManager Streamlines e-Resource Management
Partner library staff responsible for consortial licensing now have a modern tool to centrally manage BC ELN license offers, renewals, and invoices: BC ELN has rolled out ConsortiaManager, which allows staff at participating institutions to track and act on license-related information from a single dashboard.

Working in tandem with the Electronic Health Library of BC, BC ELN and ConsortiaManager staff provided two training sessions in June for partner libraries, as well as additional FAQ sessions and online “Office Hours” for anyone in need of a little extra help with the new platform.

The transition to ConsortiaManager has gone smoothly, and early feedback from partner library staff is positive. Reba Ouimet, Licensing Coordinator says, “I’ve heard from library staff that are excited to use this new tool, and I think the member interface is very user-friendly and has a lot of additional functionality. I’m personally looking forward to the many efficiencies ConsortiaManager will produce for BC ELN and partner library staff.”

Missed the training sessions? Documentation and a recorded training session are available in the "Help” section of ConsortiaManager (login required). Support is available: Questions can be emailed to Reba at rebao@bceln.ca.
Partner Libraries Work Together to Create a Robust Illume System
When partner libraries participating in the Illume provincial interlibrary loan service agreed to eliminate fees for non-returnable items (e.g. articles) several years ago, they identified a number of considerations to address in order to support the decision.

The considerations naturally focused on strengthening Illume’s infrastructure to ensure a healthy and balanced system. Though delayed somewhat by COVID-19 disruptions, the Illume Support Centre -- with support and participation from partner libraries -- has made excellent progress on these considerations.

Achievements include: establishing formalized expectations for participants, creating best practices for equitable sharing, and educating and training ILL staff on best practices as well as load leveling strategies.

A final consideration, to assess impacts of these changes on the system, is now being addressed. Assessment work will be iterative; the Support Centre will analyze statistics, then take actions to improve balance in the system, and after interventions, further assessment will occur. While the evaluation process will take time, a first review shows encouraging results. There is strong uptake of the recommended strategies, with the majority of libraries implementing best practices and the system showing progress towards equilibrium.

In the spirit of recognizing successes along the journey, we want to celebrate the progress made, and thank participating libraries for their cohesive efforts to create a robust provincial interlibrary loan system!
Coming Soon: BC ELN Orientation Modules for Library Staff
BC ELN partner library staff will soon have a set of engaging, self-guided, online modules to expand their knowledge of BC ELN’s services and initiatives.

Aimed primarily at new library staff, the orientation modules will help build a common understanding among members of the work BC ELN does, and the impact that library collaboration has on the post-secondary sector. The modules will also provide an opportunity for staff to share feedback and introduce themselves to the consortium.

We look forward to rolling out these modules in late fall. In the meantime, if you’re looking for a succinct, eye-catching explanation of what library consortia do, check out the ICOLC one-pager "The Library Consortium"!
UBC iSchool Student Explores the Breadth of Consortial Work at BC ELN
Sam Davidson, a UBC iSchool student completing his MLIS, recently spent seven months with BC ELN. Before leaving, he reflected on his time with the consortium.
Sam is a young white man with dark short hair and black-rimmed glasses. He looks directly into camera.
What did you wish you knew about Library Consortia?
Throughout my program at the UBC iSchool, I never heard mention of consortia until I was applying for a co-op position with BC ELN. I was intrigued because of the focus on licensing, one of the very fundamental aspects to information access. What I didn't realize was how passionate this team is about providing services while trying to keep resources affordable, diverse, and accessible. It's truly important work.

What you have been up to at BC ELN?
During my time with BC ELN, I have had the opportunity to create resources for the BC ELN-BCHDP support service, including a helpful guide to backing up collections. I also conducted a survey for BC ELN partner libraries which has resulted in a new initiative to offer a low-cost, Arca Digital Repository to libraries of a smaller scale.
I have been trained on the AskAway chat reference service and I have composed a couple of service area newsletters which has been very satisfying to the creative part of my mind.

What work are you most proud of during your time with BC ELN?
The office really allowed me flexibility in figuring out which areas I was best suited for. I brought to the table a nerdy interest in records management and was encouraged to investigate this in the BC ELN context. I enjoyed this trust and self-direction, and I undertook planning the office’s first "File Clean-Up Day". Working closely with the SFU Records Management Archivist, I spent time planning the event and creating resources for staff, including a records management meme campaign to get people motivated. In the end "File Clean-up Day" was a huge success and we identified and deleted over 2000 outdated records. I also brought date squares and muffins; they were a success as well.
What are your main takeaways from your time with BC ELN?
Working at BC ELN imparted me with a solid appreciation for the breadth of consortial activities. It also gave me an inside view of what a really diligent, collaborative practice looks like. I am impressed with the organizational acumen around meetings, minutes and agendas, reports and recommendations. I have learned a lot from everyone here. BC ELN really takes a lot of pride in the integrity of their operations and this is an attitude I hope to carry forward in my career.