Libraries join international research cooperative

Alyssa Maxwell

The libraries at Baylor have joined the Center for Research Libraries (CRL). The CRL is an association that acquires, preserves and provides access to resources for researchers that are often prohibitively expensive.

The CRL is a cooperative venture of about 250 libraries. By acting together, these libraries can purchase, collect and preserve materials through CRL. The CRL headquarters is located at the University of Chicago.

“This means that, by joining CRL, the Baylor community gains access to this diverse collection of primary sources, foreign publications and special print and digital collections,” Jeffrey Steely, director of Central Libraries said.

The auxiliary collection substantially enhances the libraries’ holdings.

There is no space to hold published foreign dissertations here at the Baylor libraries, Beth Elene Farwell, associate director for Central Libraries, said.

“The CRL holds the foreign dissertations that we can not hold here,” Farwell said.

Having a membership with the CRL will allow the Baylor libraries to enjoy reduced costs for additional academic resources.

In order to be a member, each library must pay an annual fee. Annual dues are “calculated based on a library’s expenditures on library materials,” Steely said.

Membership allows Baylor to have “more access to materials we could not afford to buy or house,” Farwell said.

Membership in the CRL, “allows us to make a major leap in the resources we can provide to students and faculty conducting research,” Steely said. “This is why we made a decision to prioritize membership in CRL in our allocation of funds this fiscal year.”

Last year’s engagement with HathiTrust allowed invaluable resources to be easily within reach of Baylor faculty, staff and students.

HathiTrust is a partnership of major research institutions and libraries working to ensure that the cultural record is preserved and accessible, long into the future. There are more than 50 partners in HathiTrust and membership is open to institutions worldwide. Baylor remains a member of this partnership as well.

“Faculty, graduate students and undergraduates performing serious research will all benefit from CRL membership,” Steely said.

The university will now have access to over five million items including: newspapers, journals, dissertations, government publications and other traditional and digital resources with strength in foreign publications.

“I expect humanities and social science researchers will use the collection most frequently, but the breadth of resources at CRL will be useful to those in almost any discipline,” Steely said.

The CRL is for “specific, unique research and extra resources that Baylor faculty, staff and students couldn’t find here in the library,” Farwell said.

To access these resources at Baylor, the best way is to search the CRL catalog at

“CRL also produces topic guides that provide concise windows into the CRL collections,” Steely said.

Once you identify a resource, and have a request processed through OsoFast (Baylor’s interlibrary loan system), CRL will ship items second day air. The loan period allows for long-term use.

In addition to extending the collection, being part of the CRL will allow Baylor libraries to enjoy reduced costs for additional academic resources and immediately bring Baylor libraries into conversation with key representatives at other top-tier research libraries.