Though I may be biased, I’m convinced that there is no better place to learn and grow within academic librarianship than the Orbis Cascade Alliance. Each Alliance member library is at the forefront of critical issues facing higher education—through their collections and services, our libraries are engaged in (and often leading) institutional efforts to address student affordability, equity and inclusion, accessibility, academic freedom, information literacy and information ethics, and more. While the way these issues manifest within each institution can be unique, the Alliance itself is uniquely positioned to work across our diverse members, connecting people and resources to create shared, “mission-aligned solutions to collective institutional challenges” (Shulman, 2023)—and in so doing, underscoring the critical role each of our libraries play in their institutions’ educational missions and in our collective success.
Our work of facilitating collaboration for shared benefit is made even richer by the Alliance’s identity as a regional consortium: our members are connected not only by our shared systems, our shared collections, and our shared purchasing power—they also share political and cultural history, accrediting bodies, academic partnerships, demographics, industries, and, most importantly, students. Within this context, everyone working in Alliance libraries has an opportunity both to shape learning and research environments within their own colleges and universities as well as to help transform higher education across the Pacific Northwest. Throughout our history, the Alliance has had a profound impact on the student experience in our region—and our potential to do even more to meet the challenges of today is what excites me most about stepping into this work.
I look forward to connecting with you as I learn and grow in this role; my goal is to visit every member library in person in 2024, and my inbox is always open for your thoughts and feedback. Thank you for all that you contribute to the Alliance community and programs, and to making each of your libraries better equipped to lead and to partner within your own communities.