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About: History


History of MALLCO 

The organization was formed as the Mid-America Law School Library Consortium (MALSLC) and from the outset had very close ties to MAALL. More than thirty years ago, law school deans and librarians from Mid-America were invited to a meeting held during the 1979 AALS annual meeting. The original impetus for the Consortium came from Dean Allen Smith at the University of Missouri-Columbia. Dean Smith was concerned about the problems facing law school libraries, especially increasing costs and diminishing space.

The interest that developed at AALS in sharing resources and cooperating in interlibrary loans resulted in the creation of a formal organization during the 1980 AALL meeting in St. Louis. The Consortium—consisting of the four law school libraries of Missouri, two in Kansas, three in Illinois, two in Iowa, two in Nebraska, three in Oklahoma, two in Arkansas was incorporated as a non-profit Missouri corporation. Eileen Searls of St. Louis University was elected as the group's first chair.

Several significant changes took place in 2005 when the Consortium decided to hire an Executive Director, revised its bylaws, and changed its name to the Mid-America Law Library Consortium (MALLCO). Nina Miley was hired in fall 2005 as MALLCO's first executive director and began serving on a half-time basis. Bob Rowell replaced her as executive director in fall 2006. After he left, the position remained unfilled for a period of time. In fall 2008, Susan Goldner served as volunteer interim executive director as her sabbatical project; then in January 2010, she was hired as the half-time executive director.

New members were added to the consortium over the years. In the 1990’s the two Dakota law schools joined. Between 2010 and 2013, MALLCO expanded to include four Chicago law school libraries, one Wisconsin library, one Ohio library, two Tennessee libraries and one Indiana library. Almost all of the libraries have remained members since joining, but over the years, three have decided to leave the group.

One aspect of the Consortium's structure which has greatly facilitated and enhanced its operation is the frequency of meetings. Formal meetings of the library directors are normally scheduled in conjunction with the annual meetings of AALS, AALL, and MAALL. A spring meeting was held during SWALL, but it was replaced by a spring phone meeting. By meeting four times each year the member schools are better able to maintain contact with each other and further interlibrary cooperation.

The activities of the Consortium have grown over the years. Dues and grant funding from various sources have enabled member libraries to undertake a number of projects. These projects have benefited not only the Consortium members, but libraries throughout MAALL and AALL as well. Among the many completed and continuing projects of the Consortium, the following are especially noteworthy:

Early Projects

CD-ROM Union Catalog ("The Intelligent Catalog")

In 1990, prior to the adoption of online catalogs in all MALSLC libraries, the Consortium prepared a CD-ROM based public access union catalog containing the records of every member library. The Consortium utilized a 3-year College Library Technology & Cooperative Grant with Library Corporation as the vendor.

Telecomputing Technology Grant

In 1992, the Consortium received a major grant to foster telecomputing and resource sharing utilizing scanning and imaging technology.

Telefacsimile Outreach

In 1985, with the help of an AALL grant, the consortium libraries installed telefax equipment, permitting the rapid delivery of documents. As a condition of the grant, the Consortium studied the impact of telefacsimile equipment on interlibrary cooperation.

Training for Non-Professional Staff

The Consortium periodically sponsored workshops for non-professional staff members during the annual meeting of MAALL. Travel grants are available from the Consortium to facilitate attendance of interested MAALL members.

Union Lists

A union list of legal periodicals was assembled on a regular basis beginning in 1982, using OCLC. The union list included law review holdings and related periodicals, noting the specific volumes held from the academic law libraries in Mid-America. A print union list of looseleaf services was maintained for several years based on the entries in Legal Looseleafs in Print. The Consortium also prepared a print union list of major microform holdings. Earlier union lists and surveys covered Canadian primary materials, computer labs, microcomputer software, automation plans and fiche duplicators.

Ongoing Projects

Collection and Technology Survey

An extensive survey of member library activities has been done biennially since 2008. It contains information on print and microform sets maintained/cancelled, electronic resources provided, and various aspects of technology use.

Cooperative Collection Development

Member libraries exchange information concerning specific subjects and titles for cooperative collection development. Midwest Library Service was selected as the vendor for the cooperative purchase of monographs in February 1993; followed by Yankee Book Peddler in 2001. The Consortium subscribed to WorldCat Collection Analysis for all of its members in 2008-2009 and a number of libraries continue with a discounted group subscription.

Electronic Resource Discounts

Consortium pricing is negotiated for a wide-variety of electronic products. This saves the combined membership over $100,000 a year.

ILL And Photocopy Reciprocity

Interlibrary loans and photocopies have been exchanged among consortium members without fee assessments since 1980.

Model Survey

During 2012, a committee developed a model survey which can be used by member libraries to survey their students’ use of and satisfaction with the library. It is available on Survey Monkey and can be modified by member libraries to suit their own purposes.

Interest Groups

In 2012-2013 five Interest Groups were formed for librarians and staff at member libraries. Each has a chair and a discussion list. They are an outlet for sharing information and are actively involved in planning the MALLCO Preconference before the MAALL annual meeting.

Print Collaboration

With decreases in the use of print collections and funding, MALLCO began print collaboration projects in 2011. The primary goal of the projects is to guarantee that at least one library in the consortium maintains each title. To date these projects involve state statutory codes and expensive treatises.


Beginning in 2011, MALLCO has held a preconference every year before the MAALL annual meeting. Each year it has consisted of a series of roundtables. These are open to all member librarians and staff.

Statistics Sharing

Library statistics reported to the American Bar Association are submitted to the MALLCO executive director at the same time that they are submitted to the ABA. Starting in 2011, an additional survey is collected, which contains data not included in the ABA survey. These surveys allow consortium libraries very timely access to comparative information that can be invaluable in the budgeting processes.

Revised January 30, 2014