AMBS Library celebrates 25 years of successful collaboration with PALNI colleges and universities

Published: November 1, 2017

By Megan West, PALNI communications and marketing director

The Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary Library celebrated the 25th anniversary of the Private Academic Library Network of Indiana Inc. (PALNI) as one of the founding institutions in a daylong event on May 24, 2017, at Marian University’s Allison Mansion in Indianapolis. The PALNI organization has successfully partnered to provide the systems, expertise and resources to support collaboration, innovation, learning and efficiency for all 22 PALNI institutions and their libraries since 1992. The event included the awards reception, the PALNI Innovation Grant Symposium, team/leadership skills building, and strategic planning to strengthen the collaboration into the future.

The PALNI Hall of Fame Award was bestowed upon organizational members who have demonstrated exemplary service throughout the lifetime of the PALNI collaboration. Other awards given were the PALNI Leadership in Deep Collaboration, PALNI Lifetime Vision, and the Heart of PALNI Award embodying the collegial character of PALNI. The awards and awardees were selected from the input of all library staff.

Current AMBS Library Director Karl Stutzman (left) reviews materials for the strategic planning session at the 25th Anniversary event. Megan West/PALNIThe celebration’s highlight was the historically-themed luncheon where founding members and strategic influencers Mary Persyn, Walter Morrill, Eileen Saner and Tom Kirk shared memories from the pioneering beginnings. Morrill, former Hanover College director, tearfully spoke of approaching the Lilly Endowment to ask for the organization’s initial funding.

“It really is difficult to go back and think of all the good times we had together … maybe one of the toughest was one day, a group of us descended on the Lilly Endowment Inc. on North Meridian. We came to the very central part of the state, hats in hand, with a great deal of trepidation at that time, we approached the Lilly Endowment, Inc. … It was enough to found PALNI.”

Former Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary Library Director Eileen Saner was presented with the PALNI Lifetime Vision Award and brought some levity to the room with her story about how PALNI celebrated receiving the first Lilly Endowment grant: "All of a sudden, there was a Scottish bagpiper in full regalia. He came into the room playing, very loudly, traditional Celtic music.” Instantly, the event planners in the room regretted not booking a Celtic bagpiper for the 25th celebration as well.

PALNI has embarked on new initiatives well beyond the traditional library to support assessment, scholarly communication and instructional technology, among others. The PALNI board of directors has committed to “deep collaboration” between PALNI institutions, providing better service to students and faculty by sharing resources to reduce duplication and fuel innovation.

“PALNI is a trailblazer in working together at scale," said Kirsten Leonard, PALNI executive director. "Consortia worldwide are looking to PALNI for guidance and for what new services we will develop next.”

To read more about PALNI’s 25-year history and keep up with the organization's future, see

Additional photo: Current AMBS Library Director Karl Stutzman (left) reviews materials for the strategic planning session at PALNI's 25th anniversary event. Credit: Megan West/PALNI

About the Private Academic Library Network of Indiana (PALNI): PALNI is a non-profit organization supporting collaboration for library and information services to the libraries of its 22 supported institutions. Over time, the library deans and directors who sit on the PALNI board have adjusted the organization’s strategic direction as the internet and information services landscape have changed. PALNI has expanded beyond providing a resource management system to sharing expertise in many areas, including strategic planning, reference, information fluency, outreach, data management and configuration, and has identified greater collaboration in acquisitions as a key goal.

PALNI-supported institutions: Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary | Ancilla College | Anderson University | Butler University | Concordia Theological Seminary | Christian Theological Seminary | DePauw University | Earlham College | Franklin College | Goshen College | Grace College | Hanover College | Huntington University | Manchester University | Marian University | Oakland City University | University of Saint Francis | Saint Meinrad Theological Seminary | Taylor University | Trine University | University of Indianapolis | Wabash College

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