A letter from Robert Miller, LYRASIS CEO

Dear LYRASIS member,

I want to share with you some new updates regarding Project Synergy, our internal name for the exciting possible merger between LYRASIS and DuraSpace.

In this update, I want to answer 5 key questions for our members about Project Synergy:

When I became CEO of LYRASIS nine months ago, I was excited because it was clear that LYRASIS has tremendous potential to help the archives, library and museum communities innovate and revolutionize the way they acquire, use and share content. Within my first 90 days, I, along with the LYRASIS Trustees, staff and key members, realized that we were uniquely positioned to invest in and cultivate services and technologies that our members need right now and into the future.

We determined that developing a key partnership in the area of open technologies was a strong opportunity to fulfill our ongoing dedication to digital solutions and to the needs of our members and their users worldwide. For that partnership, we sought an organization whose commitment to their community was without question and whose team was recognized as best of field in innovative approaches, tools and solutions. Quickly we began to focus on DuraSpace.

DuraSpace was also exploring new opportunities to extend their reach across communities, expand training and support of their programs and increase the scale of their already excellent services. We had found our potential partner!

As DuraSpaces’s CEO, Debra Hanken Kurtz, and I have worked more closely together we realized that bringing LYRASIS and DuraSpace together as a merged non-profit will leverage the strengths of both organizations and enhance services and benefits for all members and users of these mission-driven non-profits. Already we have seen that when it comes to missions, goals, organizational culture and passion, our teams have more points of alignment than divergence. So that brings us to today.

1. This will enhance existing LYRASIS programs and initiatives.

LYRASIS has a long history of working hard to leverage the combined purchasing power of our community to negotiate better prices, terms and offerings in the area of strategic licensing and eResources. We work with more than 80 best-of-field vendors, annually offering nearly 800 vetted products and procuring more than $70 million of content for more than 1200 members and 3,000 other subscribers. With the merger, our commitment to this key LYRASIS service area will not diminish. In fact, with the added members from DuraSpace, our community will grow and increase our leverage with existing and future vendors.

2. This is an expansion of our commitment to Open Source Software and Digital Services.

Four years ago the LYRASIS Board of Trustees, through feedback from our members, directed the organization to take a leadership role in Open Source Software and Digital Services.

Today, LYRASIS plays an active role in Open Source Software projects as the organizational home for both ArchivesSpace and CollectionSpace and their collective 280 members. If the proposed merger is approved by our members (you!), we will add four more Open Source projects, DSpace, Fedora, Hydra and VIVO, and their 150+ global members. Merging will allow us to better leverage software and project support and ensure sustainable growth.

LYRASIS is committed to the integrity and value of these projects, and there will be no change in the governance of any of these programs: the current model of directed funding, decision-making and implementation will be unaltered by this proposed merger.

In addition to Open Source Software support, LYRASIS also has three hosted digital services: ArchivesSpace, CollectionSpace and Islandora. With the merger, we would add four DuraSpace hosted services: DSpaceDirect, ArchivesDirect, DuraClould and DuraCloud Vault. By combining these services, members would realize better technical support, more timely service and better value through scale.

3. This proposed merger will take advantage of existing team, staff and project synergies to strengthen offerings now and in the future.

LYRASIS has a staff of about 50 talented team members. DuraSpace has a staff of about 11 talented team members. Merging these two teams will allow for collaboration and the sharing of expertise and knowledge, providing new ideas, solutions and processes. LYRASIS will bolster the value of DuraSpace services by offering streamlined fiscal management, human resources support, training, member outreach services and consulting support

Several key steps and decisions have been completed.

  1. In August, 2015, both boards decided unanimously to “investigate to merge” with the support of both CEOs.
  2. In January, 2016, both boards voted unanimously to expand the effort into an “intent to merge” with the support of both CEOs.
  3. The two organizations have begun a due diligence process to review all programs, projects and fiscal structures.
    • LYRASIS annual revenue is approximately $75 million.
    • DuraSpace annual revenue is approximately $2 million.
  4. Organizationally, I will be CEO of the merged organization and Debra Hanken Kurtz, CEO of DuraSpace will become the COO.
  5. We are currently seeking member and public input.

As part of the member input process, LYRASIS has held nine Leadership Forums in nine cities across the US, hosting more than 200 members and thought leaders who have discussed, among other important topics, Project Synergy.

We have held one online town hall meeting led by both CEOs where questions were asked and answered.

The response from all of these engagements has been positive. The only concerned member feedback so far has been an understandable question about whether programs and services you rely upon will be discontinued, interrupted or de-emphasized. I want to assure you that we will not be discontinuing any of our services or projects. Those service areas will only grow with the possible merger.

There will be a joint meeting of both the LYRASIS and DuraSpace boards in May of 2016 in Atlanta. At this meeting we will review potential governance structures for the combined organization, analyze a due diligence package, consider legal issues associated with the merger and, most importantly, assess the feedback we have received from you. If all things look positive and we have overwhelming support from you, our members, we will hold an online member vote to request your approval of the merger.

Get ready! Be active, curious and vocal. I hope as you learn more about Project Synergy, you will be supportive. I firmly believe this is the right thing for you as a LYRASIS member.

Over the next 4 weeks, you will be hearing from some of our Board members as they reach out to you. You will be hearing from me. You will be hearing about virtual town hall meetings where we will field questions to both CEOs and listening sessions where we will update you on progress. I hope you’ll join us on Thursday, April 21 at 9 am for the next session. Click here to learn more.

And if you only have time to read two sentences, read these:

  • The proposed merger between LYRASIS and DuraSpace will allow us to expand support for enduring access to our shared academic, scientific and cultural heritage through leadership in open technologies, content services, digital solutions and collaboration with public and private knowledge communities.
  • No LYRASIS digital services, licensed resources, training or special programs will be discontinued or interrupted; in fact, they will be enhanced.

I invite you to call me at (415) 640-1092 or email me with any questions or feedback, and I would love for all of you to join us for any of our Town Hall Meetings. Our next Town Hall is Thursday, April 21 at 9 am ET. Click here to learn more.

I want you to have the same sense of excitement and share the belief that my Board and my team have that this will be a great next step in the LYRASIS commitment to support our membership.

Also, please note that our Board of Trustees election is currently underway. We value your input and hope that you, or the voting representative from your organization, will take the time to cast your vote this year. Thank you in advance for your participation.



Robert Miller, LYRASIS CEO