In 1975 the two Pennsylvania LBPHs (Pittsburgh and Philadelphia) joined together to develop a single software system to deliver NLS services to eligible residents of the Commonwealth. In 1988 the New Jersey LBPH expressed interest in collaborating as well, thus, the Consortium of User Libraries was formed in 1989 with the owners as Commonwealth Libraries of Pennsylvania and the New Jersey State Library. In 1991 the Michigan LBPH joined, and then Iowa came on board in 1993. Maine joined CUL in 2005, and Connecticut became a CUL member library in 2009.
Automated Systems Research & Development (ASRD), Inc. designed the first automated registration and circulation for the two Pennsylvania LBPHs in 1975. Sue Murdock, then director of the Pittsburgh LBPH, consulted about her vision to automate the Pittsburgh Library for the Blind & Physically Handicapped with Dr. James Williams, a professor of Information Technology at the School of Library and Information Sciences at the University of Pittsburgh.
Dr. Williams conceived this vision as a project for his Systems Analysis & Design class. The project was to automate a system that was currently a manual operation. Mary Lamica was his lead student on the project. Mrs. Murdock procured grants for the statewide automation effort, Dr. Williams established ASRD, Inc. to implement the project, and Ms. Lamica stayed on as a subcontractor to the company.
This collaboration continued through more than three decades, and involved various other specialist subcontractors along the way. Today, Mary Lamica is the CEO of ASRD, with several subcontractors and Jim Williams as advisor now and then. Kathleen Kappel is the director of the Pittsburgh LBPH, and she consults with Sue Murdock independently on CUL software and related and operations.