MLS has decided not to proceed with the statewide ProQuest license for the Massachusetts Newsstand, online newspapers.  We thank members who responded to our request to make a commitment to cover part of the cost of this online content.  Unfortunately we were unable to raise enough money to make the purchase.  About 4% of member libraries (73) pledged to participate.  14 libraries informed us that they were unable to pay a portion this year, but are willing to pay next year.  With this announcement, we inform you that MLS will not ask any library to pay on its pledge for the ProQuest project.   This is not the end of MLS’s efforts to expand access to online content.  It is just the beginning.

MLS released a new strategic plan for 2013-2015 recently.  It establishes a strategic objective to:  Play a leading role in expanding access to online content and its discovery by Massachusetts library users.

Our next steps are as follows:

Meet with MLS’s Online Content Advisory Committee to

  • Debrief on the online newspaper pledge process
  • Determine how best to determine member libraries’ needs and capacity to fund collaborative purchases for online content

The Committee will explore the potential for a pledge or assessment methodology that will allow MLS to license statewide content that will be available statewide through geolocation on any computer or handheld device.  Statewide access is likely to be the most cost effective in terms of dollar per user.  It also offers the advantage of efficient bookkeeping for vendors and MLS.

We will also investigate the best way for members who have specific needs to purchase online content cost effectively.  Some members currently use third party aggregators such as WALDO and LYRASIS that work with very large groups of libraries to provide discount prices.  We’ll consider jumping on these coattails too.

It is likely that we will call on members to provide information about their online content needs and budget projections.  I urge you to respond to any call for information or participation that will help MLS prioritize our activities to meet your needs.

Please contact MLS with your questions or suggestions.