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Endowment honors online library systems pioneer

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A long time business partner in the MSU Libraries’ successful online library systems recently established an endowment to support the libraries and honor a relationship that has spanned more than 25 years.

Jerry Kline, Chairman and CEO of Innovative Interfaces, noted that his gift pays tribute to his colleague and very dear friend, Colleen Hyslop, MSU senior associate director of Libraries.

            "Colleen is one of those rare people who can challenge people and organizations to improve, yet can keep everyone smiling. I state confidently that Innovative Interfaces is a better organization because of Colleen and it has been an honor and pleasure to work with her. I hope that this endowment carries forward Colleen's dedication and vision that has truly made a difference to the Michigan State University Libraries and the greater library community."

In her early career with MSU Libraries, Colleen was charged with identifying a product for automating acquisitions. Jerry had recently co-founded Innovative Interfaces, a company dedicated to technology services for libraries. MSU became one of the start-up company’s largest and now oldest clients, and Colleen became a trusted friend and partner in the development of a premier integrated library system.

Colleen and Jerry went on to spearhead statewide library-lending prototypes that utilized Innovative’s INN-Reach system. Through a pilot project with just five libraries and MSU, they demonstrated how diverse types of libraries could share materials even when they were using different products to manage their individual collections. Their effort grew to become MelCat, which currently has more than 400 participating libraries across the State of Michigan and has been replicated in other states as well.

Colleen remembers the project as a rewarding highlight of her career. “We had a lot of fun, while we did very meaningful work that made a difference and helped libraries get their work done,” she said.

Through a surprise announcement, Colleen learned that Jerry had established the Gerald M. Kline Family Foundation Endowment for the MSU Libraries in honor of Colleen Hyslop. The $50,000 endowment can be used at the discretion of the Director of the MSU Libraries. Such gifts are particularly helpful in furthering the mission of the libraries and stand as a testiment to Jerry’s trust and understanding of MSU.

“One of the reasons I have enjoyed working with Jerry is that he listens, understands what we are trying to address and gets back in a meaningful way,” Colleen said. 

MSU Libraries Director Cliff Hakanoted the two-way cooperation was a “win-win” outcome for the company, the libraries and libraries users alike. “That Innovative and Jerry Kline have chosen to recognize and honor Colleen's contributions to this process is sincerely appreciated,” he said.

For more information on making a gift to the MSU Libraries, contact Assistant Director of Development Roger Merrifield at (517) 884-6446.