Report: “A Librarian’s Death Left Her Life’s Work in Limbo. Here’s How It Found a New Home”
How do you put a price on a free resource that serves low-income students? And how do you create a business model to keep that database going while protecting the privacy of the students who rely on it?
EdSurge asked those questions in August 2020 in a story about a college-scholarship database created by a beloved librarian named Gail Schlachter.
Containing nearly 30,000 financial-aid opportunities painstakingly researched over several decades, the database that powered the Reference Service Press book-publishing company faced an uncertain future when Schlachter died in 2015. Faithfully maintained by the librarian’s longtime friend, the database found a new home at an edtech startup, but the company’s leaders weren’t sure how best to use it while sustaining its open-access legacy.
“Where can this thing live digitally so that it’s out of one person’s hands and in the hands of everyone?” asked Drew Magliozzi, CEO and co-founder of the startup, which is now called Mainstay.
The EdSurge story led to an answer. After the article was published, leaders at companies and philanthropies contacted Magliozzi with ideas and offers for putting the scholarship database to use. One corporation offered six figures in cash for it. A nonprofit offered to help Mainstay turn it into a public-facing tool.
See Also: Direct to Mainstay’s Website
See Also: Direct to the NSPA Exchange Website
About Gary Price
Gary Price (firstname.lastname@example.org) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. He earned his MLIS degree from Wayne State University in Detroit. Price has won several awards including the SLA Innovations in Technology Award and Alumnus of the Year from the Wayne St. University Library and Information Science Program. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com. Gary is also the co-founder of infoDJ an innovation research consultancy supporting corporate product and business model teams with just-in-time fact and insight finding.