NELLCO Turns 20! Adds first affiliate membership category.
By Tracy L. Thompson, NELLCO Executive Director

In 1983, 15 founding members established the New England Law Library Consortium. Today, as we approach our 20th Anniversary in 2003, we number 25 non-profit member libraries, including 20 academic libraries and 5 non-academic libraries. Through the years members of NELLCO have enjoyed the benefits of collaboration in many ways. The work of the consortium has included projects such as the early NELLCO Union Catalog on CD-Rom, free ILL between members, programs and workshops on many subjects, a cooperative filming project of MA Lawyers Weekly, and the current pilot project, Library LAWLINE, providing virtual reference assistance to our patrons 7 days a week. Members also realize significant savings on the purchase of both print materials and electronic resources through agreements negotiated on behalf of the consortium. We currently have agreements in place for print purchases with Blackwell's Book Services and for electronic purchases with more than 15 publishers.


NELLCO regularly receives inquiries from libraries seeking to join our ranks. Our most recent expansion brought in members from New York and Pennsylvania. However, there has always been some concern about losing the regional flavor of the organization if we grew too geographically scattered. Following the addition of the newest members we placed a moratorium on growth to give the organization time to absorb the new members and to consider carefully the consequences of further expansion. With the retirement of Diane Klaiber and my appointment as Executive Director, the moratorium was further extended to allow for the administrative transition. Now, with the new members comfortably established and my honeymoon period over, NELLCO is ready to expand its membership.

In June of this year the NELLCO directors held a one-day retreat at Yale Law School. During the course of that day a task force was established to examine the potential for the growth of NELLCO. We sought to design a solution that would address the needs of current members and maintain the current look and feel of the group for them, while extending the benefits of group purchase to non-members, and perhaps even enhancing NELLCO's purchasing power. The result is a plan to open an affiliate level of membership to begin July 1, 2003.

During the first expansion phase, ABA-accredited law school libraries will be invited to join as affiliate members. In later phases we may consider expanding affiliate membership to other non-profit law libraries. Affiliates will benefit from participation in NELLCO-negotiated trials and agreements for the purchase of resources, and will enjoy centralized billing for those purchases. Affiliates will have collective representation on the Board of Directors. Affiliates will not participate in NELLCO liaison groups, pilot projects, workshops, meetings or other full member activities.

We are very excited about the prospect of this expansion and the opportunities it may present for both current full members and new affiliate members. NELLCO has 20 years of experience as a resource sharing organization and we are delighted to fulfill our mission in part by extending that experience to libraries beyond our region.

For more information about our expansion plan, or for any NELLCO-related business, please feel free to contact me directly. Please also note NELLCO's new mailing address!

9 Drummer Rd.
Keene, NH 03431
(603) 357-3385 - phone
(603) 357-2075 - fax

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