Columbia and Cornell Libraries Announce New Partnership


Gwen Glazer, 607-254-8390,
Laura Kenna, 212-564-4692,

Columbia and Cornell  Libraries Announce New Partnership
Mellon Grant Supports Joint Venture

(NEW YORK, Oct. 12, 2009) – The Andrew W.  Mellon Foundation has awarded $385,000 to the libraries at Columbia University  in New York City and Cornell University in Ithaca, N.Y., to support the  development of an innovative partnership dubbed “2CUL.” This new relationship  has the potential to become the most expansive collaboration to date between  major research libraries.

Starting this fall, Cornell and Columbia  will plan significant partnerships in collaborative collection development,  acquisitions and processing. The two universities will form a separate service  entity to facilitate the collaboration. Ithaka, a not-for-profit organization  that assists research libraries and the academic community to leverage advancing  information technologies, will provide project management and assist in the  planning. Initial work will focus on several global collecting areas, as well as  collaborative funding and support of technical infrastructure in various areas.

2CUL — pronounced “too cool” — stands for  the acronyms of both Columbia University Library and Cornell University Library.  The partnership is not a merger, and the two libraries remain separate  institutions.

“2CUL represents a new, radical form of  collaboration that pairs two leading research libraries in a voluntary, equal  partnership,” said James G. Neal, Vice President for Information Services and  University Librarian at Columbia University. “Columbia University Libraries and  Cornell University Library are committed to developing an enduring and  transformative partnership that will enable us to achieve greater efficiencies  and effectiveness and to address new challenges through combined forces.”

“2CUL will ameliorate the impact of  budget cuts while building our libraries’ ability to innovate,” said Anne R.  Kenney, Carl A. Kroch University Librarian at Cornell University. “This  partnership is predicated on Cornell and Columbia’s shared commitment to  reinvigorate our libraries in response to and in anticipation of changes in  digital access, interdisciplinary research and scholarly communication. It also  allows us to provide the best possible experience for our  users.”

Over the next two years, 2CUL will  explore ways to improve the quality of collections and services offered to  campus constituencies, redirect resources to emerging needs, and make each  institution more competitive in securing government and foundation support. The  relationship could also provide a new blueprint for broad, non-exclusive  partnerships between other academic libraries and other parts of the  academy.

“This proposed collaboration can serve as  a model of inter-institutional partnership for other aspects of our work,” said  Cornell Provost Kent Fuchs. “We are pleased to partner with Columbia to continue  to provide excellent service with fewer resources while increasing productivity  and minimizing redundant operations.”

"The 2CUL project brings together the  talents and resources of two of the finest research libraries in the country,”  said Columbia Provost Claude Steele. “We are gratified that the Mellon  Foundation recognizes the potential of this partnership for creating innovative  models for maintaining and building excellence in our research libraries in this  turbulent economic environment.”

About Columbia University  Libraries/Information Services

Columbia University Libraries/Information  Services is one of the top five academic research library systems in North  America. The collections include over 10 million volumes, over 100,000 journals  and serials, as well as extensive electronic resources, manuscripts, rare books,  microforms, maps, graphic and audio-visual materials. The services and  collections are organized into 22 libraries and various academic technology  centers. The Libraries employs more than 550 professional and support staff. The  website of the Libraries at is the gateway to its services and  resources.

About Cornell University Library

Cornell University is both an Ivy League  institution and New York's land-grant university. Among the top ten academic  research libraries in the country, Cornell University Library reflects the  university's distinctive mix of eminent scholarship and democratic ideals. The  Library offers cutting-edge programs and facilities, a full spectrum of  services, extensive collections that represent the depth and breadth of the  university, and a deep network of digital resources. Its impact reaches beyond  campus boundaries with initiatives that extend the land grant mission to a  global focus. In 2002, the Library received the Excellence in Academic Libraries  Award from the Association of College and Research Libraries. To learn more, visit


Mellon Grant Supports Joint Venture