History of cooperative collection development for South Asia

The history of cooperative collection development for South Asian resources in the U.S. has a long history. From the development of language and area studies programs for South Asia in the 1940's and 1950's, U.S. institutions have collaborated through a variety of means, ranging from cooperative acquisitions, cataloging, and preservation.

The Public Law (PL) 480 Acquisitions Program, established in 1962, brought an infusion of books, journals, government documents, maps, recordings, and other materials to recipient libraries. This provided a cost-effective means to acquire large quantities of South Asian material, distributed to several major institutions. The program also had the effect of centralizing the acquisitions process for U.S. libraries, which greatly increased efficiencies, but also reinforced certain homogenization of library collections.

The PL 480 program was overseen by the Library of Congress, which opened its New Delhi overseas office in 1962 and its office in Karachi, Pakistan (later moved to Islamabad) in 1965. Together, these offices form the nucleus of the South Asia Cooperative Acquisitions Program (SACAP). Through the 1960's and early 1970's, the geographical coverage provided by the New Delhi office was expanded to cover Sri Lanka, Nepal, and Bangladesh. Collected materials were published in the Accessions List (1981-1996).

By the mid 1990's funding for the PL 480 program had dried up, necessitating a change in the SACAP model. 1 October 1985 was the official switch from rupees to dollars.  The program was re-designed on a cost-recovery model, wherein participating institutions pay for acquisitions and select indirect/overhead costs. 

Read more about current efforts relating to cooperation between South Asian collections.

Other projects include the Triangle South Asia Consortium and Roja Muthia Research Library (RMRL).



Banerjee, Deepa, South Asian Librarianship: Current Challenges and Future Trends (2008)

"From the editors: the day the rupees run out." SALNAQ newsletter, Issue 4. (1978)

Filstrup, E. C., Jordan Scepanski, and T. Stewart. "An Experiment in Cooperative Collection Development: South Asia Vernaculars Among the Research Triangle Universities." Collection Management 24.1/2 (2000): 93-104.

Maheshwary, A. C.,  U. S. Resources on Indian and South Asian Studies. Paper presented at 6th Scientific Symposium Frankfurt. (2006)

McEldowney, Philip F., Frustration and fun: Problems in the acquisitions of special collections materials: South Asia. Presented as part of LIS 615, University of North Carolina-Greensboro. (3 May 1993)

Patterson, Maureen L. and Louis A. Jacob. "South Asian Area Studies and the Library [with Discussion]." The Library Quarterly: Information, Community, Policy, Vol. 35, No. 4, Proceedings of the Thirtieth Annual Conference of the Graduate Library School, May 20-22, 1965: Area Studies and the Library (Oct., 1965), pp. 223-238.

Patterson, Maureen L. The South Asian P.L. 480 Library Program, 1962-1968, The Journal of Asian Studies, Vol. 28, No. 4 (Aug., 1969), pp. 743-754. Article DOI: 10.2307/2942409. 

Patterson, Maureen, "From CALROSA to CONSALD: the development of library support for South Asian Studies in the U.S."  SALNAQ newsletter, Issue 3 (Part I) and Issue 4 (Part II). (1978)

Patterson, Maureen, "The PL 480 Acquisitions Program, 1962-1982" SALNAQ newsletter, Issue 13 (Part I) and Issue 14 (Part II). (1982)

"The PL-480 program: acquisitions by language and program -- a graphic summary." SALNAQ newsletter, Issue 13 (June 1982).

Wells, Jack C., “South Asia collections in the 1980s: is there life after dollar days?” SALNAQ newsletter, Issue 19/20 (1986) 

Williamson, William L., ed. "The Impact of the Public Law 480 program on overseas acquisitions by American libraries. Proceedings of a conference held at the Wisconsin Center May 12, 1967." Madison, WI: Library School, University of Wisconsin. (1967). 

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