A Collaborative Future for Libraries, Museums, & More: Chicago Collections & Lifelong Learning Across the Community

“A Collaborative Future for Libraries, Museums, and More: Chicago Collections and Lifelong Learning Across the Community” took place during the 2018 ALA Midwinter Meeting on Saturday, February 10, as part of the Symposium on the Future of Libraries. ALA and the Center for the Future of Libraries sponsored the program. Upper respiratory problems did not dampen Scott Walter’s enthusiasm during his presentation. He warned that he might cough but did not once. Walter of DePaul University was the single presenter, but two colleagues—Sarah Pritchard of Northwestern University and Mary Case of the University of Illinois at Chicago—were on hand to answer questions at the end.

Trend names centered within circles, ovals, and squares of different colors
Scott Walter situated his presentation on the Chicago Collections Consortium within the context of the Center for the Future of Libraries’ trend cards.

Throughout his presentation, Walter emphasized that the future of libraries is not just technology but also collaboration among similar and complementary institutions and organizations. Walter stated that the Chicago Collections Consortium (CCC) is a sustainable model for others to follow. He shared how the CCC got its start and its vision to preserve and share the history and culture of the Chicago area. To that end, Walter says, CCC is working to “provide a virtual collection of primary resources that is freely accessible, enhance awareness and access to the expertise found in member institutions, improve teaching and learning of Chicago history, preserve Chicago history and culture by preserving primary sources, and promote collaboration among librarians, archivists, and curators across Chicago.” Explore Chicago Collections enables researchers to discover primary sources located at many different libraries and archives through entry points such as names, neighborhoods, and important historical events.  CCC is supported by members’ dues, external grants, and individual giving. Next steps include performing assessment, improving the onboarding experience for new consortium members, and enhancing their discovery system, EXPLORE. The CCC is hoping to provide scalable support services for small institutions, broader recognition of the library within academic institutions, and broader recognition of the library within Chicago,  a “city of readers.”

Presentation slides, audio, and video are available to registered conference attendees by logging into the conference scheduler. For more information, visit the Chicago Collections website and sign up for the newsletter. ALCTS members may be particularly interested in Metadata Hopper, the metadata tool underlying EXPLORE.

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