The Loyola libraries are actively involved in two new area consortia, the Black Metropolis Research Consortium (BMRC) and the Chicago Collections Consortium. The BMRC is an unincorporated Chicago-based association of libraries, universities, and other archival institutions with major holdings of materials that document African American and African diasporic culture, history, and politics, with a specific focus on materials relating to Chicago. This consortium sprang from the University of Chicago’s “Mapping the Stacks” project, an effort to locate and provide better access to archival collections relating to African Americans in Chicago. In 2005 the library received an invitation to join a discussion about establishing a consortium dedicated to providing a better way for scholars to access these important materials in Chicago institutions. Since then the consortium, which is headquartered at the University of Chicago, has formalized membership; established by-laws; begun initial surveys of member’s collections; and established a presence on the Internet (http://www.blackmetropolisresearch.org). The Loyola Libraries are represented by Kathy Young, University Archivist, who serves on the Board of Directors and is co-chair of the BMRC Education Committee.
Currently the Education Committee is working on establishing a fellowships program to promote research about the black experience in the urban context, specifically Chicago, through use of member’s collections; and an internship program that will help train future archivists, promote diversity in the profession, and assist members in providing more access to collections.
The Chicago Collections Consortium is a new consortium that has emerged from talks between the University of Illinois-Chicago, the Newberry Library, the Chicago History Museum, and the Art Institute of Chicago regarding their desire to make their manuscript collections containing information relating to Chicago more accessible to researchers. Following these initial talks, other Chicago institutions (including Loyola, Columbia College, Northwestern University, Illinois Institute of Technology, Northeastern Illinois University, Roosevelt University, and DePaul University) were invited to a discussion about creating a portal that would allow researchers easier access to collections relating to Chicago history. Agreement to pursue this project was reached among the institutions attending the meeting in June 2007. Since then an interim steering committee has been formed, as has a task force to draft a planning proposal. More work on this consortium is anticipated during 2008.