The origin of the Claremont Colleges Digital Library (CCDL) was a product of the reorganization of the Libraries of the Claremont Colleges. The libraries administration sought to revitalize and strengthen the organization and the creation of a digital library was viewed as an integral part of the rejuvenation. The libraries recognized that cutting edge digital resources are vital educational tools as well as essential assets fulfilling user expectations of ease of access and content availability. The Libraries of the Claremont Colleges have had a history of applying state-of-the-art technology to the administration of information. Understanding that creating a digital library would be an important continuation of this legacy, the presidents of five colleges and two graduate universities turned their attention and support to making this expansion of the libraries' assets possible.
In 2003, the libraries began a process of creating strategic plans, operating plans, requests for proposals, user surveys, task forces and work groups to lay out the best path for growing a digital library. The libraries' goal for the CCDL has not changed since the first working group report in the fall of 2004. The libraries annual operating plan, 2004-2005 delineates the purpose of the digital library to not only digitize materials but also "provide leadership in bringing disparate resources together for effective access." The CCDL has grown from these humble aspirations into a full fledged digital library with a wide variety of collections covering a broad range of subject areas. Serving the academic community, the CCDL fosters faculty and student use of the online collections in the classroom and beyond. The CCDL looks to the future by exploring new ways to display items and provide access to materials that present challenges in bringing the analog into the digital.
Another challenge the CCDL faces is the varying digital library needs of the seven schools in Claremont. In line with the mission statement of the libraries, the CCDL strives to partner with The Claremont Colleges in learning, teaching, and research. Documents revealing the strategic planning, background research, task forces and work groups that laid the foundation for the CCDL to grow and prosper are included in the Growing a Digital Library collection. The collection continues to develop as documents are created in the process of running and expanding the CCDL, are digitized and added to the collection.