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, to share some of its documentary riches with a broader public. Its next project was a four-year collaborative effort to make member collections more accessible through projects such as a $4 million cataloging initiative funded by The Pew Charitable Trusts. When PACSCL was organized as a 501(c)(3) corporation in 1994, it described its mission as “to provide support to special collections libraries for educational, cultural and historic purposes.”
Projects undertaken since 1994 have included the creation of a consortial online public access catalog bringing all but one member online; consortial manuscript survey and processing projects; a finding aids project; and an exhibition of medieval manuscripts, Leaves of Gold, at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, together with the creation of a printed exhibition catalog, an interactive CD-ROM, and a comprehensive website. A particular concern of all of PACSCL’s recent projects has been meeting the needs of member libraries and their several publics to make effective use of technological advances to increase access to special collections materials.
The strategic planning process has arisen out of a recognition that in order 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. To that end, members engaged in self-study through a questionnaire and series of discussions at quarterly meetings in 2001, and in a day-long retreat concentrating on PACSCL’s future in January 2002. Preparations for this day were carried out by a consultant in conjunction with the Executive Committee. Subsequently, the consultant worked with the Executive Committee and with the full Board to assess the organization’s response to the ideas generated at the retreat and to prepare for the creation of a strategic plan.
The plan is periodically updated. PACSCL adopted a Board of Directors / general membership structure in May 2010. Following a two-year strategic planning process (2013-2015), and after consultation with the membership, the Board of Directors adopted a new strategic plan at its February 26, 2015 meeting. Further updating has been placed on hold until a new Managing Director is in place, although the board has annually reviewed progress on the 2015 goals and objectives.