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The Association of Southeastern Research Libraries (ASERL) has awarded its first-ever mini-grant to Mississippi State University Libraries in support of its proposal, "Applying Fair Use Principles within Resource Sharing Contexts." The award will support a 9-month series of activities MSU Libraries will undertake to advance knowledge in this often-misunderstood area of library practice.

Beginning October 1, Mississippi State University Libraries will undertake a series of activities involving leaders from their institution and beyond to examine how Fair Use principles can be properly applied as part of a library's Resource Sharing operations.

Many libraries rely on "CONTU Guidelines" which were drafted by Congress in 1974. The libraries at Mississippi State will use the ASERL mini-grant to provide needed tools and assistance to individuals seeking information about Fair Use, particularly for library users requesting materials from an unaffiliated library. These materials will also reaffirm the principles of Fair Use of copyrighted materials as a byproduct. The new content will be made available via a dedicated webpage and online tutorial that will be accessible to any librarian or library user starting in Summer 2015.

Frances Coleman, Dean of Libraries for Mississippi State University, added, "MSU Libraries have long embraced new technologies, often serving on the vanguard within our institution. We are extremely pleased to partner with ASERL to ensure libraries are making good and proper use of Fair Use principles when we borrow and lend materials."

"ASERL has been working to advance new initiatives and new forms of scholarly communication for a few years," commented Thomas McNally, Dean of Libraries at the University of South Carolina and ASERL's Board President. "We sponsored a year-long appointment of a Visiting Program Officer to study these issues, and during that process we identified a need to study this particular issue at a deeper level. With this mini-grant, ASERL is providing monetary support to advance this issue."

"The 'N' and 'T' in 'CONTU' stand for "new technology" -- new, in 1974," commented ASERL's Executive Director, John Burger. "Given more recent court cases and the deployment of ever-evolving technologies in libraries, ASERL felt it was worthwhile to support a thorough review of these matters." A 2013 ASERL study found very few libraries include guidelines for the application of Fair Use principles as part of their resource sharing policies.

Founded in 1956, the Association of Southeastern Research Libraries is the largest regional research library cooperative in the country, with 38 members in 11 states. ASERL operates numerous projects designed to foster a high standard of library excellence through inter-institutional resource sharing and other collaborative efforts. By working together, ASERL members provide and maintain top quality resources and services for the students, faculty, and citizens of their respective communities. More information about ASERL can be found at http://www.aserl.org.

About MSU Libraries
Mississippi State University Libraries is a premier research library providing its communities of users an ongoing, creative, technologically advanced library program that promotes new and emerging technologies while enhancing and inspiring teaching, research, and service of the highest caliber in an environment of free and open inquiry and with a commitment to excellence. For more information about MSU Libraries, please visit http://library.msstate.edu.