History & Governance

Illinois academic libraries have acted consortially for over 40 years. Since CARLI began operations, this collaboration has grown increasingly effective and coordinated, establishing CARLI as one of the premiere library consortia in the United States. Our 130 member libraries–individually and collectively–are committed to meeting the information and research needs of their 800,000 students, thousands of faculty and staff.


The Consortium of Academic and Research Libraries in Illinois (CARLI), began operating on July 1, 2005. CARLI was formed by consolidating three existing Illinois academic library consortia, which improved the efficiency and cost effectiveness of services, increased the effectiveness of consortial and member library staff efforts, and created opportunities to pursue new programs and services that the three constituent consortia would not have been able to provide on their own.

The library consortia were:

  • Illinois Cooperative Collection Management Program (ICCMP), formed in 1986, provided statewide collection studies and grants.
  • Illinois Digital Academic Library (IDAL), formed in 1999 to provide centralized electronic resource licensing.
  • Illinois Library Computer Systems Organization (ILCSO). ILCSO, formed in 1980, provided the shared integrated library system Illinet Online. Illinet Online became I-Share in the consolidation.

CARLI products, services, and programs complement and expand upon those of the legacy consortia to include the I-Share integrated library system; E-resources licensing and subsidized core resources;SFX link resolver;digital collections; statewide collections programs; training and continuing education; statewide physical delivery; network, system, and database administration; and help desk/online problem reporting and resolution


CARLI operates under the direction of the CARLI Bylaws. As stipulated in the bylaws, the CARLI Governance Board oversees the affairs of CARLI except those reserved for the member institutions. Working with the allocated budget, the Board sets the strategic direction of the Consortium; reviews, advises, and recommends allocation of programmatic funds; advises and gives recommendation on the hiring and evaluation of the CARLI Senior Director; and provides advice and input to the University of Illinois System Office in matters relating to the Consortium. The Board meets regularly throughout the year.

The Board consists of twelve voting members. Nine voting members are elected to three-year terms by the Governing Member institutions, with three members each representing the public university, community college, and private institution sectors, respectively. Three voting members are appointed annually by the elected members of the Governance Board, with one member serving each of the three membership sectors. There are two ex officio non-voting members: the CARLI Executive Director, and a representative appointed by the Illinois State Library. A nominating committee appointed by the Board solicits nominations for positions each year.

In addition to the Governance Board, there are several types of committees, etc., that assist in carrying out CARLI programmatic activities.

  • Board Committee—include both standing (permanent) committees referenced in the CARLI Bylaws and temporary “ad hoc” groups established to carry out a specific task and then be discharged. These bodies report to the Board on a frequency/schedule established by the Board. Each Board committee has a CARLI staff liaison and one or more Board liaisons. Ad hoc groups have sunset dates at which point the group will be discharged.
  • Advisory Committee—focuses on a broad area of service or on a product operated by the consortium in a shared environment that requires collaborative decision-making. Each advisory committee has two CARLI staff liaisons. Advisory committees are assumed to be ongoing.
  • Task Force—focuses on conducting a clearly defined investigation that furthers the mission or operation of the consortium. Task Forces have specific deadlines for reporting to the Board and established sunset dates. No formal liaisons from Board or staff are required, but they may be appointed, as needed.
  • Interest Group—functions primarily as a communication channel with staff monitoring discussion, focusing on areas of common interest, which may be a product, subject specialty, or other common interest related to CARLI’s mission. Interest Groups have no formal Board or staff liaisons.

View the full list of current CARLI committees and click on any committee name to view its roster, charge, and links to its minutes or other reports.

The University of Illinois System serves as CARLI’s fiscal and contractual agent under a Host Institution Agreement between the Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois System and CARLI. CARLI operates as a unit of the University of Illinois System Office for Academic Affairs.