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Revised in July 2014.

This document outlines criteria, expectations and obligations for both prospective and continuing members of the Orbis Cascade Alliance. Members in good standing will remain in compliance with these criteria as well as Alliance articles of incorporation, bylaws, memoranda of understanding, and adopted policies.

These membership criteria reflect the discussions and decisions of the Orbis Cascade Alliance Council and Board in retreat and in regular meetings in April 2003; January, May, & July 2006; February 2009; and July 2014. This document is subject to interpretation and revision by Council.

Orbis Cascade Alliance recognizes two types of participation: full membership & program participation.

I. Full Membership

Any NWCCU Accredited associate, baccalaureate, masters, or doctorate granting, public or private non-profit academic institution in Oregon, Washington, or Idaho may be considered for Orbis Cascade Alliance full membership. Institutions in contiguous areas that can fully participate in the consortium may be considered on a case-by-case basis. Potential full members must demonstrate a commitment to Orbis Cascade Alliance goals and principles and must be able and willing to meet all service and financial obligations, both start-up and continuing. Full membership requires the following:

  • Implement the Alliance”s Shared Integrated Library System (Shared ILS), currently based on Ex Libris Alma and Primo, and comply with all adopted policies and consortium-wide workflows, including the lending and borrow of library materials via Summit.
  • Develop and sustain the Alliance”s five program areas
      1. Shared Collections: including cooperative collection development initiatives, Demand Driven Acquisition (DDA) of Ebooks, and membership in WEST: the Western Regional Storage Trust.
      2. Content Creation and Dissemination: development, stewardship and dissemination of unique and local content.
      3. Discovery and Delivery: development and use of Summit, Primo, and other discovery and delivery services, including participation as a direct courier drop site.
      4. Collaborative Workforce: shared human resources of the Alliance, both consortium and member library staff.
      5. Systems: technologies used by Alliance programs, teams and members.
  • Actively support governance, strategic planning, shared work, and decision making through
    • Faithful participation by the library director at meetings of the Council of library deans and directors.
    • Library staff and other institutional capacity that enables the library to meet consortial obligations and expected performance levels in keeping with the size of the member organization in support of committee, team and project work.
  • Pay all membership and optional fees in a timely manner.

Full members can opt in or out of other services that are judged by Council to be optional (e.g., most database purchases; additional courier dropsites; participation in NWDA)

The basic unit of membership is the institution. Each academic institution is an independent member of the Orbis Cascade Alliance and is expected to participate in Alliance services and to meet all membership obligations. All branches, autonomous libraries, etc. of an institution are included in membership. Divisions of an institution are not eligible for separate full membership. When an institution is part of another consortium or shared system, only the applicant institution may join the Orbis Cascade Alliance. As appropriate, other participants in the consortium or shared system may separately apply for Alliance membership. In all circumstances requiring interpretation or judgment, the Board will determine what constitutes an institution.

The applicant institution must provide evidence of its ability to advance the activities and priorities of the Orbis Cascade Alliance. Full membership applications include institutional data provided through an application form. The Board will conduct a site visit, meet with library staff, director(s), and chief academic officer and make a recommendation for Council action. Although published standards for university, college, and community college libraries (e.g., ACRL standards) may be used as a guide for deliberations, the Board and Council will interpret, revise, and vary from such guidelines at their discretion.

In considering an institution's application for full membership, the Alliance will take into consideration a number of institutional characteristics, including the following:

Institutional Profile

  • Statement of applicant institution”s mission and its compatibility, or fit, with the mission of the Alliance.
  • Number, characteristics, and locations of students, faculty, staff, and researchers.
  • Nature and extent of the applicant institution”s cooperative affiliations and relationships.

Library Collection

  • Adequacy of collections to support institutional needs.
  • Size and character of the circulating collection available to members via Summit.
  • Evidence of institutional commitment to maintaining collections at an appropriate level, including an acquisitions budget appropriate for the scope of the institution”s instructional and research enterprise.
  • Size and characteristics of non-circulating collections of specialized materials, special collections, and archives.


  • Evidence of resources available to meet the financial obligations of membership.
  • Evidence of continuing commitment to support the financial obligations of membership.

Library Staff

  • Evidence of staffing levels to meet consortial obligations and expected performance levels.
  • Adequate staff resources available to support participation in consortial governance and committee work, including travel to and hosting of meetings.

Materials Delivery

  • Designation as a courier dropsite.
  • Commitment to consortial best practices and to meeting Alliance expectations for Summit.

Technical Preparedness

  • Evidence of staff expertise to meet various technical requirements and obligations.
  • Willingness and ability to support the requirements of participation in the Shared ILS.


  • Willingness and ability to participate actively in consortial governance and committee work.
  • Resources available to support participation in consortial governance and committee work, including travel to and hosting of meetings.

II. Program Participation

Program members are those institutions that are not full members of the Orbis Cascade Alliance but participate in selected programs. The criteria for program participation are generally specific to each program. Examples include the electronic resources, courier, and archives programs. For more information on program participation, please contact the Executive Director or appropriate program manager.