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Understanding the MLNC/MOBIUS Merger October 29, 2008

Posted by cynhudson in FYI, Library Stuff.
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In early October a Merger Exploration Task Force was created to discuss the viability of merging MLNC and MOBIUS.  MLNC, or the Missouri Library Network Corporation, provides OCLC related services and training as well as discounts to Missouri libraries on a variety of databases. MOBIUS is a consortium of academic libraries and cooperating partners that seek to provide information resources to students, faculty and staff in libraries throughout the state.

According to the task force white paper, it is believed that a merger between these organizations would produce greater participation in the MOBIUS delivery system by all libraries (not just academic), expand existing MLNC training and support, and allow the merged organization to possibly participate in the development of next generation technologies.

Shirley Baker, Vice Chancellor for Scholarly Resources and Dean of University Libraries at Washington University in St. Louis, is a member of this task force.  In reference to any changes that might take place in the event of a merger, Baker states, “On the MLNC service front, what changes we experience will be those that are mandated by OCLC as part of their on-going development rather than things attributable to a merger.  On the MOBIUS front, one of the advantages could be using the MLNC experience with serving public libraries to speed up the process of incorporating more public libraries into MOBIUS.  There are technology and organizational issues involved in expansion of MOBIUS membership, but with time most could be resolved. ”

The only effect of the merger noticeable to library users will be the increased access to information resources.  According to Baker, “Patrons would see a broader range of materials when they click the MOBIUS button and our volume of MOBIUS activity might increase as users find more materials they want to borrow.”

Since their initial meeting, the task force has set up a blog to field questions.  They will also host a town hall meeting on Friday to continue the discussion of a possible merger.  The task force expects to make a recommendation on the exploration of the merger to the boards of MLNC and MOBIUS by November 10.  A positive recommendation would initiate a detailed feasibility study.

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