PACSCL and its member institutions work to expand knowledge of our cultural foundations, legacies, and issues by preserving essential documentation in their care and encouraging its use in education, lifelong learning, and advanced research.
PACSCL was formed in the mid-1980s as a vehicle for collaborating on an exhibition of library treasures, Legacies of Genius. PACSCL was incorporated in 1993 and organized as a 501(c)(3) corporation in 1994, at which time it described its mission as “to provide support to special collections libraries for educational, cultural and historic purposes.”
Past projects have focused on collaboration and accessibility. PACSCL offers its members the opportunity to participate in a consortial online public access catalog as well as a shared instance of Archive-It for web archiving. Consortial manuscript surveys and processing projects have resulted in previously “hidden” collections being made available. The Philadelphia Area Archives Research Portal (PAARP) provides access to over 12,000 findings aids not only from PACSCL collections but from other collections throughout the Delaware Valley. Physical and digital exhibitions, such as Leaves of Gold and Bibliotheca Philadelphiensis resulted from collaborative curation and digitization initiatives across the PACSCL community.
The strategic planning process has arisen out of a recognition that to continue to serve its members and to strengthen support from its members and external stakeholders, PACSCL must have a clear mission, a vision flowing from that mission, an awareness of the challenges and opportunities facing it, and both long-range goals and strategic objectives. Prior rounds of strategic planning occurred in 2001-2002 and in 2013-2015.
In the fall of 2020, a committee was formed to consider a new cycle of strategic planning for 2021-2024. The committee worked virtually from October through January 2021 and generated not only a strategic plan but also a task-based three-year plan that provides a flexible structure to reach the goals stated in the strategic plan.
The goals for 2021-2024 are framed within this statement of intent: PACSCL will sustain the cultural and intellectual life of the Philadelphia area by fostering collaboration; by promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion as members engage in joint projects; and by enriching the professional lives of special collections staff. This statement of intent expands and enhances the initial scope of PACSCL’s activities, centering collaboration while focusing intently on sustainability, diversity/equity/inclusion (DEI), and professional development. Current projects, such as Chronicling Resistanceand In Her Own Right give a sense of what can be accomplished by exploring DEI-focused topics within historical and cultural settings.