In 2013, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation awarded a team of librarians who met as 2011–2012 ARL Research Library Leadership Fellows a planning grant to examine the potential use of the center of excellence (CoE) model for providing information services. As the team states in their report on this study, recently published by the Council on Library and Information Services (CLIR), “CoEs are designed to attract the most talented researchers in a particular field, enhance collaboration, and improve access to the resources needed for their research.”
The CLIR report describes the study’s approach to examining the feasibility of CoEs in the library setting. The team conducted preliminary investigations of more than 100 centers of excellence, which they narrowed to 35 for in-depth research. In their conclusion, the authors advise developing “networks of expertise” or “expert networks,” instead of CoEs, and provide a series of recommendations for building such networks.
Download The Center of Excellence Model for Information Services, by Joy Kirchner, José Diaz, Geneva Henry, Susan Fliss, John Culshaw, Heather Gendron, and Jon E. Cawthorne, from the CLIR website.