The Vision, Mission and History of the Washington Research Library Consortium

The Washington Research Library Consortium (WRLC) is a not-for-profit corporation founded in 1987 by eight universities in the Washington, DC metropolitan area to expand and enhance the information resources available to their students and faculty. The WRLC currently has a staff of 20.

The WRLC is governed by a Board of Directors that consists primarily of administrators from the partner universities with responsibility for the library. A WRLC Library Directors Council advises the Board and the WRLC by providing guidance and direction on programs, operations, policy, budgets, and other matters of import to the work of the WRLC, the Consortium, and the individual libraries. The Library Directors Council has charged a Steering Committee to plan and coordinate consortial initiatives and activities.

The universities include:

  1. American University
  2. The Catholic University of America
  3. Gallaudet University
  4. George Mason University
  5. George Washington University
  6. Georgetown University
  7. Howard University
  8. Marymount University
  9. The University of the District of Columbia

Vision and Mission

Our Vision and Mission Statements, approved by the WRLC Board of Directors on December 1, 2010, are:


The Washington Research Library Consortium will be a catalyst creating synergies among the partner universities to enable the success of learning and scholarship.


The Washington Research Library Consortium is a collaborative partnership providing proactive and responsive, innovative, cost-effective access to shared information resources, services and expertise.

These statements provide essential guidance to us in developing the services we provide to our partners.

Programs and services

WRLC provides these mission-critical services to the member universities:

Information technology supporting library operations

  • Shared library union catalog
  • Integrated Library System
  • Discovery interface providing a simple, single search box
  • Link resolver which directs users to full text of journal articles
  • Digital library portal (access to all resources)
  • Systems integration and software development And much more.

Technical support for licensed online resources.

Systems and services to support consortial borrowing

  • Direct borrowing at libraries (over 84,000 items in FY 2010)
  • Online requests for delivered items (over 130,000 in FY 2010)
  • Online article delivery from member libraries’ print holdings (nearly 15,000 in FY 2010)
  • Daily book delivery service to each library.

Technologies to support digital collections and share campus scholarship

  • Digital object catalog system
  • Institutional repository system to publish and preserve scholarly research from member universities.

Offsite library facility to free valuable space in campus libraries

High-density, environmentally-controlled storage for less-used library materials

  • About 1.4M volumes as of December 2010
  • 24,000 archival boxes
  • Daily delivery of books, articles, and archival boxes
  • New shared collections module provides space for up to 1.5M volumes or 80,000 archival boxes.

A collaborative partnership of shared resources, services, and expertise. Current initiatives include:

  • Regularly scheduled presentations on hot topics
  • Opportunities for training and learning from experts resident in the Consortium
  • Initiatives to explore opportunities to collaborate on copyright and intellectual property, preservation and conservation, digital reformatting for presentation of materials online and closely coordinated collection development.


This edition of the Washington Research Library Consortium Employee Handbook is a thorough review and revision of the existing handbook. The Washington Research Library Consortium took advantage of many sources in developing this version of the Employee Handbook. In particular, we want to thank and acknowledge the useful guidance provided by the employee handbooks of The Catholic University of America and Georgetown University.

August 2011