The Carolina Consortium enables academic libraries in North Carolina and South Carolina to use their bulk purchasing power to obtain favorable pricing on a variety of electronic resources that are of significant interest to the scholarly community. In 2012 the Carolina Consortium included 147 community colleges, public universities, and private institutions of higher learning.
Information for vendors and publishers
How do I get the Carolina Consortium to consider my offer?
The Carolina Consortium meets once a year (in April) to decide which offers have the broadest appeal. We typically get far more offers than we can handle, so we try to pick only the best ones to pursue. In order to be considered at the April meeting, proposals should be sent to Tim Bucknall by January or February. The Carolina Consortium may choose to consider some deals outside of the April timeframe, but only if they are truly exceptional.
What kind of deals does the Carolina Consortium do?
The Carolina Consortium recognizes that for any deal to work long term, it must benefit both libraries and publishers/vendors. There are many ways that can happen. For example, some deals give us sliding discounts based on the total number of participating schools. Others give all schools a particular discount if we can generate a certain number of new subscriptions. Others allow us to share resources among members of the group. There are other models, too. What they all have in common is that they give libraries better value for their dollar, while giving vendors/publishers the same or more dollars.
The Carolina Consortium will consider any model that benefits both libraries and publishers/vendors and meets all of the following criteria
- Any member of the CC must be able to opt in or out of any deal. We will not consider any deal that requires the entire group to participate.
- There is no one person who has legal authority to sign contracts on behalf of all consortium participants. We usually negotiate a single contract and then the vendor/publisher sends each school a copy to sign on their own behalf. We understand that the vendor/publisher does not want to have to handle multiple separate contract negotiations.
- The consortium prefers that each participating school be billed separately and directly by the vendor/publisher. If a single bill is required, we try and work through EBSCO. In most cases, EBSCO can pay the single bill on behalf of the consortium and then invoice each school separately.
- The consortium will not engage in multi-year deals unless they contain some provision for schools to cancel mid-term if they receive unexpectedly large budget reductions.
Are there any types of deals that members of the consortium like or dislike?
One model that has proven particularly unsuccessful is one in which discounts are extended only to new customers, with existing accounts "locked into" a higher rate. That model is perceived as punishing the long term customer base. Flat group rates, content sharing, and increased discounts with increased participation are three of the models that that have attracted fairly high participation within the group.
What if I already offer deals through Lyrasis or other consortiums available to schools in the Carolinas? Can I make the same offers to the Carolina Consortium?
No, not if the deals are identical. We only consider duplicate deals if the terms offered through the Carolina Consortium are better than those offered through another consortium. There is no benefit in offering the exact same deal that is already available to our members.
How has the current economic crisis affected the Carolina Consortium?
Most libraries have already experienced significant cuts. Budgets for the 2013/14 fiscal year have yet to be finalized, but it is already clear that many of the consortium's participants will see reductions. Budget cuts will vary from institution to institution, ranging from problematic to catastrophic. The Carolina Consortium has formally endorsed the ICOLC Statement on the Global Economic Crisis and Its Impact on Consortial Licenses.
Carolina Consortium March 2011 letter to vendors and publishers