Background and Opportunity

VALE and Library Lever are organizations that share common histories, goals and challenges. We share a long history of success supporting New Jersey libraries by helping them to meet the needs of their users through access to affordable subscription-based resources offered through work with legacy consortia.  

VALE and Library Lever recognize that legacy consortia no longer serve in the best interest of libraries. Subscription pricing is inflated with added fees and surcharges,  while vendor discounts are reduced and withheld, leaving libraries with few options and no visibility into the business models of membership organizations to which they subscribe. The hard truth is that the very consortia that were designed to support libraries now view them as one of many revenue-generating verticals.   
Together, VALE and Library Lever can reimagine the consortia model and forge a new path toward an equitable and financially sustainable partnership. We can change the landscape by engaging publishers and vendors as library champions rather than corporate sales machines.  We can harness the power of our collective knowledge to create opportunities for growth and change that will move the profession forward and secure the future of libraries.  
We Propose a Learn and Lead Partnership for 2023

Benefits of Working with Library Lever

Library Lever asks that VALE as an organization as well as the 50 VALE member libraries, pledge support to  Library Lever as a show of good faith.  
The pledge is not legally binding and there is no financial commitment.  

The Pledge enables Library Level tadvocate on VALE’s behalf while negotiating with vendors.  

We also ask that we may publicize VALE’s support and announce our transformational Learn & Lead Partnership  via social media channels.   

Highlights of our Partnership benefits
(see full proposal for details):

  • Member pricing and 100% of vendor discounts
  • Community site for VALE membership
  • Bespoke Mentorship program for library staff
  • Library Lever Vendor Day and other in person learning opportunities
  • Host innovation labs for VALE membership

Read the Full Proposal

We are pleased to present this proposal to the VALE teams

Read the full document at this link

About the Library Lever Team

We are a team of passionate industry professionals on a mission to create a world in which libraries and publishers work together towards the same goals:  A world where all learners are provided equal opportunity to thrive through access to authoritative content and modern technologies.  A world where decisions are driven by data, and success is measured by impact.

Robert Karen
Robert Karen has worked in the Publishing Industry for 24 years, and currently serves as the Chief Executive Officer of Library Lever. Robert is responsible for discovering emerging business models that focus on data driven outcomes.

As part of the Publishing Industry, Robert has worked diligently helping publishers and libraries achieve value. Robert leads a team focused on the continued success of libraries and committed to improving the procurement experience.

Prior to his role at Library Lever, Robert held different leadership positions at the WALDO consortium including the Director of Member Services, where he was responsible for their thriving membership, and Director of Procurement Services, growing total sales to over $500 million in his 20 year career.

He lives in Westchester County, NY  with his wife Michele and two children Jolie and Noah. When Robert isn’t working hard at Library Lever, you’ll find him playing golf, on a drive with his bernedoodles, and enjoying live music. Robert holds a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Colorado @ Boulder.

Heather Dray
As CCO, Heather is dedicated to realizing Library Lever’s mission of building sustainable library collections through best-in-class programs and solutions designed to ensure success for libraries of all sizes and complexities.

Mesmerized by the magic of books as a child, teenage Heather realized her true calling while working the Business Periodicals desk at the main branch of Broward County (Florida) Public Library. The first time she helped a patron locate articles for his literature review she was hooked! Driven by this passion to help others, Heather embarked upon an exciting career in libraries and academic publishing that has taken her on travels near and far.

Heather has served in leadership roles as Director of Educational Services at SOLINET/LYRASIS and most recently as Associated Director of Library Relations and Faculty Outreach at SAGE Publishing. In these roles, Heather built dynamic teams of librarians who delivered educational programs designed to empower and delight library staff, faculty and students throughout the US, Canada and Australia. Heather describes her time serving as Director of Library and Information Resources at American InterContinental University Atlanta as a personal highpoint in her career. Her work with the ambitious and creative students at AIU Atlanta was incredibly inspiring, joyful and deeply rewarding.

Heather is a proud Atlantan, sometime artist and fulltime mom to her rescuers, pocket-Pitbull Izabel “Izzy” Louise and Heinz 57 Dashiell “Dash” Hammett. Heather spends her free time enjoying live theater and music, painting and writing, “sampling” wine with family and friends, obsessively streaming true crime podcasts, and researching all things Roman and Viking. As Izzy & Dash allow, of course.

Heather Teysko

Heather Teysko is the head of Engagement at Library Lever, and she also produces and hosts the Common Stacks Podcast. She has been a leader in the library field for 20 years, in particular in technology and eBooks, having been the Assistant Director: Innovation and Development at the Califa Group, California’s largest library consortium, where she led the project to create enki, the first statewide shared eBook collection built on a platform owned by the consortium with content purchased directly from publishers rather than through a vendor. She also worked on The Palace Project, the open source eBook project built by LYRASIS. 

Additionally, she is passionate about history, telling stories of Tudor England since 2009 with the Renaissance English History Podcast, and building a community of over 50,000 followers around her show. She teaches podcast classes for library training organizations such as ALA, and has been a speaker on podcasting for libraries at the California Library Association annual conference. She has also been a speaker at various podcasting conferences such as Intelligent Speech and Harvard University's Sound Education. 

Register Your Interest

We are excited to see how Library Lever grows. Rob's experience, vision, and enthusiasm for libraries is incredible. Under his leadership and the team he has put together, we are looking forward to watching the company flourish. 

Dean of Libraries, Clarkson University

Robert's work with our library system has been a pleasure. He was able to quickly understand our needs making recommendations that worked well for us. Working with Robert allowed allows us to refine our collection, minimize duplication and increase engagement with our students. His delivery of the project was timely, professional, and efficient. We are looking forward to working with Robert again in the future.

MICHOEL ROTENFELD// Associate Director, Touro University Libraries

The library industry is evolving, with exciting new products and trends being discovered all the time. The team at Library Lever will help libraries navigate the process, keeping librarians one step ahead of the learning curve. I’m looking forward to watching the company flourish.

BEN IDE// Head, Library Resource and Metadata Services,University of Hartford