Academic Library Service in Minnesota

 

Table of Contents

 

I.                   Introduction

II.                Organizational Structures

III.             Funding Structures

IV.             Resource Sharing

V.                Statutes, Legislative Issues and Statewide Organizations

VI.             Automation and Technology

VII.          Other Programs

 

 

I.                   Introduction

 

As of Fall 2000, there were over 120 academic libraries in Minnesota, serving student, faculty, and staff of their academic institutions.

 

II.                Organizational Structures

 

Academic libraries in Minnesota serve the primary clientele of their parent public or private academic institutions. Minnesota's institutions of higher learning include four-year and two-year institutions of all sizes, ranging from small private colleges to the University of Minnesota's Twin Cities Campus, which is a major research university. Minnesota has two major public higher education systems: the University of Minnesota System (http://www.umn.edu), serving more than 58,000 students, and Minnesota State Colleges and Universities (MNSCU) (http://www.mnscu.edu/Home.html), a network of 36 two-year and four-year state colleges and universities serving about 140,000 students.

 

In addition, the Minnesota Private College Council (http://www.mn-colleges.org) has a membership of 17 private colleges serving 51,000 students. There are several other organizations of libraries of private higher education institutions, including the Minnesota Consortium of Theological Schools, CLIC (Cooperating Libraries in Consortium http://www.clic.edu/), and the libraries of the Mayo Medical School and other higher education programs of the Mayo Foundation in Rochester.

 

A regional cooperative, Tri-College University (TCU), is a consortium in the Fargo-Moorhead area made up of Concordia College in Moorhead, Minnesota State University Moorhead, and North Dakota State University. Its primary purpose is to expand educational opportunities available to students of the three institutions. Tri-College also facilitates cooperation among the participating institution's libraries.

 

 

III.             Funding Structures

 

All of Minnesota's academic libraries are funded by their campus administration to support the curriculum of their academic institutions. These institutions also apply for grant funding from various organizations and, to the extent they are successful, some funding may be applied to library budgets. Also, the Minnesota Legislature occasionally provides targeted appropriations to the state's academic libraries to support specific activities.

 

MnSCU centrally funds a major portion of the cost for MnSCU campus libraries to participate in the MnSCU/PALS automation system. The MnSCU funding covers basic operations, and additional services are billed to the libraries. MnSCU/PALS separately charges non-MnSCU libraries that belong to MnSCU/PALS, such as private colleges, state government libraries, and public libraries.

 

As an example of a targeted state appropriation, the Minnesota Legislature provides an annual appropriation of $3 million dollars to MnSCU for its libraries to use for collection development. Through these supplemental funds, MnSCU libraries were able to add 49,752 books to their collections in FY 1999. These are books that otherwise may not have been acquired -- books that are now available to every library (and, thus, to the public) via Interlibrary Loan. In addition, 134 new periodical subscriptions were established. (More information is available at http://www.winona.msus.edu/library/coop2.htm

 

MINITEX, a program of the Minnesota Higher Education Services Office located at the University of Minnesota, is funded by the Minnesota Legislature to provide services without charge to Minnesota academic and state government libraries. MINITEX provides loans and photocopies to academic libraries and state government libraries from the University of Minnesota Libraries and Minneapolis Public Library. In addition, it provides support and training for libraries that use services of OCLC (Online Computer Library Center, Inc.), maintenance of MULS, the MINITEX Union List of Serials, and overnight courier delivery throughout the three-state MINITEX region. During the 1999 Minnesota legislative session, funds were appropriated to provide for a standard group of electronic databases to be available to all Minnesota residents. To carry out this mandate, MINITEX licenses several databases through its Electronic Library for Minnesota program that are available to local libraries at no charge. In other cases, MINITEX either directly subsidizes databases for academic libraries or acts as a fiscal agent by gathering several libraries together to obtain a discount price from particular database vendors.

 

IV.             Resource Sharing

 

Within Minnesota, library leaders have been successful in creating organizational structures that have resulted in resource sharing and cooperation at a level that is one of the highest in the United States. These structures include the Minnesota Library Information Network (MnLINK), CLIC, other members of the Minnesota Private College Council, and MnSCU/PALS as well as MINITEX. These organizations help participating libraries leverage their collections and budgets to provide improved services to their students, faculty, and staff. Minnesota libraries also share their collections with each other and with other public, academic, and school libraries in their immediate region and throughout the state.

 

MINITEX Library Information Network (MINITEX)

 

As indicated previously, MINITEX supports Minnesota academic libraries through such services as the MINITEX Delivery System and the MINITEX Document Delivery Program, which help libraries share their resources in a cost efficient manner. During FY2000, MINITEX staff provided more than 143,000 loans and photocopies from the Minneapolis Public Library to fill requests needed by academic and other libraries. Requests for loans and photocopies not available in these collections are searched and requested from libraries throughout the three-state MINITEX region and/or from other cooperating libraries in the U.S. and abroad.

 

MINITEX also supports the work of staff at OCLC member libraries. Part of library staff members' work with OCLC provides much of the bibliographic content of local library automated systems through creation and downloading of bibliographic records from the OCLC WorldCat (OCLC Online Union Catalog) database. WorldCat also provides a regionwide database for locations of books and other resources. In addition, MINITEX's maintenance of MULS, the MINITEX Union List of Serials, which is hosted by OCLC, provides access to holdings of serials owned by libraries throughout Minnesota and the Dakotas. MULS is available in the MnSCU/PALS online catalog and on the MnLINK Gateway.

 

In 1997, the Minnesota Legislature created MnLINK as a statewide library system funded with a $12 million appropriation. A collaborative effort among various types of libraries throughout Minnesota, MnLINK is made up of two components: the Integrated Library System (ILS) and the Gateway. The ILS is a shared library automation system (software and hardware) for libraries of the University of Minnesota, MnSCU higher education institutions, and Minnesota state agencies. Other participating libraries include private colleges, public libraries, K-12 school libraries, and special libraries.

 

The MnLINK Gateway is a world Wide Web-based virtual library, providing access to multiple information resources, including open access to participating Minnesota library catalogs and secured access to available electronic databases. The collections of approximately 450 Minnesota Libraries' and library systems' collections are available. These include public libraries some K-12 libraries, state agency libraries, and technical, community college, and university libraries. More information can be found at http://www.mnlink.org.

 

As MNLINK's components become operational, Minnesota's resource sharing systems and protocols will undergo change as users begin to initiate requests for materials located in various libraries.

 

V.                Statutes, Legislative Issues and Statewide Organizations

 

Unlike Minnesota's public libraries, there are relatively few legislatively mandated structures that relate directly to the state's academic libraries. The Minnesota Library Planning Task Force (LPTF), established by the Minnesota Legislature in 1994, is charged with reviewing all capital requests for funds to plan, remodel, add on, or construct higher education library facilities requested with state funds. Recently, this charge was expanded to include public library projects requesting state funds. (Information on the Library Planning Task Force's mission and activities can be found at

http://www.mheso.state.mn.us/cfdocs/webdirectory/index.cfm. Click on Collaborations and Networks.) Also, the Legislature directed LPTF to explore the consolidation of LUMINA (the University of Minnesota's Twin Cities automated system) and MnSCU/PALS - an exploration that resulted in the $12 million appropriation to create MnLINK.

 

The Academic and Research Libraries Division, a subunit of the Minnesota Library Association, has an annual Spring program in addition to programs during MLA's annual conference. MnSCU/PALS has active User Groups that meet twice yearly. The MnSCU Library Council represents MnSCU libraries and plans a yearly staff day for educational purposes. CLIC libraries have active committees that regularly bring library staff together. MINITEX plans and holds many training sessions throughout the year as well as an annual Interlibrary Loan Conference in the spring. MINITEX and the university of Minnesota Libraries co-sponsor annual forums on the topics of cooperative collection management and reference.

 

VI.             Automation and Technology

 

Minnesota academic libraries have a long history of automation and use of technology. The following automation systems include most but not all of the academic libraries in Minnesota.

 

All library systems are available over the Internet. This also includes public library automation systems in Minnesota.

 

MnSCU/PALS includes over 125 libraries and branches. MnSCU/PALS libraries utilize a centralized library automation system developed over the past 20 years. Originally a Minnesota State University System undertaking, PALS (an acronym for Project for Automated Library Services) now serves all MnSCU institutions. Services are also provided on a contract basis to private college and university libraries, state agency libraries, public libraries, school libraries and special libraries. These make up a significant segment of the PALS membership and database. (http://www.pals.msus.edu/pals/)

 

The MnLINK integrated library systems and the MnLINK Gateway together create one of the largest multi-type shared library systems in the country. (Information on MnLINK can be found at http://www.mnlink.org.) The MnLINK Gateway is now operational and provides searches across both library catalogs and, for authenticated libraries, electronic information resources. The MnLINK integrated library system will be shared by all University of Minnesota campus libraries, all MnSCU libraries, Minnesota state agency libraries, and other public and school libraries from around the state.

 

CLICNET serves as a common catalog for libraries of the CLIC consortium in the Twin Cities. CLICNET is also available on the MnLINK Gateway and will upgrade to its third automation system during 2000/2001.

 

MINITEX is using scanning technologies to electronically transmit articles over the Internet to over 23 academic libraries and one public library in Minnesota. During 2000/2001, MINITEX will begin a pilot project of to delivery articles of academic library users.

 

VII.          Other Programs

 

Many Minnesota academic libraries are investing in providing library services to distance learning courses taught by their campus faculty throughout the state. One of the best places to keep up with these developments is the MLA Distance Education Round Table. Their website can be found at http://personal4.stthomas.edu/razietlow/mla/.




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