Fiscal Year 2013 – Minitex Year in Review
Fiscal Year 2013 (July 1, 2012–June 30, 2013) was a momentous year for
Minitex. Valerie Horton began her work as Minitex's new director
on December 5, and Minitex undertook a major strategic planning effort while
continuing its work in support of academic, public, state government, and special
libraries and users of libraries in Minnesota and beyond. Also, FY2013 saw the
selection of the Minnesota Digital Library
(MDL) as one of the original regional service hubs for the newly created
Digital Public Library of America.
Usage of the Electronic Library for Minnesota
(ELM) continued to grow as students and other Minnesotans made use of this suite of
electronic resources, which is available to all residents across the state. The
MnLINK Gateway and
Minitex Resource Sharing improved on its already
high rate of filling requests for interlibrary loan and other resource sharing requests.
The year also brought sad news – Bill DeJohn, who retired in January 2012 after
more than 27 years as Director of Minitex, passed
away after a short illness on December 31, 2012.
A state-funded program of the Minnesota Office of Higher Education and a division
of the University of Minnesota Libraries, Minitex operates as a publicly supported
network of libraries working cooperatively to improve service for their users in
Minnesota, North Dakota, and South Dakota. There is reciprocity with Wisconsin
Major Milestones for FY2013
New Minitex Director, Valerie Horton
Valerie Horton, formerly Executive Director, Colorado Library
Consortium (CLiC), arrived in time to deal with a Minnesota winter – an experience that
she had not enjoyed since her childhood. She arrived with credentials from her
work with the academic, public, special, and K-12 school libraries that make up CLiC, as director
and head of systems at academic libraries, an American Library Association International Fellow
in the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, and as co-general editor of the online journal,
She spent much of her early months meeting with staff of Minitex participating libraries
while traveling throughout the Minitex region. She also met extensively with Minitex staff in get-acquainted sessions, asking them about their
thoughts and perceptions about the purpose of Minitex.
Minitex Associate Directors Becky Ringwelski and Mary Parker served as Acting Co-Directors
during the interim between DeJohn's retirement and Horton's arrival.
Strategic Planning Initiative
Minitex's strategic planning initiative is based on the Drivers Planning Model
Minitex's strategic planning initiative was initiated with the goals of:
Organizing and guiding our work and transforming the initiative's outcomes into work plans
for Minitex units and individual work goals.
- Starting important conversations and soliciting input from many stakeholders.
- Creating measurements to evaluate our activities.
Building a framework that insures staff will be on the same page in thinking and talking
about the organization.
- Communicate with our stakeholders about whom we are and what we want to be in the future.
Building upon experience that Horton brought from her previous positions, a team – made
up, primarily, of Minitex staff with several stakeholders – worked to develop a thorough
understanding of the operation and potential of Minitex's current programs, a nuanced view of
the environment in which Minitex operates, and a understanding of the future opportunities and
challenges that will face Minitex participating libraries and Minitex itself.
Environmental scans, extensive conversations with library staff throughout the region, stakeholder
and Minitex staff surveys, discussions with Minitex's advisory committees, and other tools were
used to collect the body of information that would be needed to plan Minitex's path into the
future. Surveys showed high interest and satisfaction with Minitex services. Stakeholders' top
concerns included uncertainties about funding, the need to demonstrate their value to their
communities and funders, and increased access to shared electronic book (ebooks) collections.
Minitex staff reported that they valued the efficiencies of Minitex services, helping libraries
save money, and helping to equalize the level of information resources available throughout the
At the end of the fiscal year (June 30, 2013), the environmental scan had been completed, and
results were published in a Briefing
Book. The planning effort will continue into Fiscal Year 2014, with reports, discussion, and
implementation of resulting decisions expected early in Calendar Year 2014.
Minnesota Digital Library & Digital Public Library of America
Minnesota Digital Library
FY2013 brought major focus on and change for the Minnesota
Digital Library (MDL). A collaborative effort begun in 2001, the MDL has grown to include
material from more than 150 libraries and other cultural heritage organizations throughout Minnesota.
As such, it was recognized by planners of the Digital
Public Library of America (DPLA) as a possible model for other statewide efforts.
The MDL contributed one of the online exhibits featured when DPLA went live on April 18. The
exhibit, History of Survivance: Upper Midwest 19th Century Native
American Narratives, told a story of cultural disruption, change and continuity, and the impact
that all these factors have had upon the region's Native Americans.
MDL's goal continues to be to assist Minnesota libraries and cultural heritage institutions in
making their unique resources broadly accessible on the web, training staffs of libraries and
cultural heritage institutions in creating digital collections, and providing educational and
outreach resources to connect users with those resources. MDL's signature collection,
Minnesota Reflections, includes photos, maps,
documents, and other digital resources revealing Minnesota's history, geography, and the life
of Minnesotans for researchers, educators, students, and the public.
In its role as a DPLA service hub, the MDL is expected to serve as an "on-ramp" to help interested
public libraries, special libraries, colleges, museums, historical societies, and other organizations
across the state and the region add information about their collections to DPLA – ensuring that
local and regional collections can be discovered and accessed through the DPLA as part of this national
During FY2013, the Minnesota Arts and Cultural
Heritage Fund of the Minnesota Clean Water, Land and Legacy Constitutional Amendment continued as
the primary source of funding. Minitex is the administrative home of the MDL and facilitates this
collaborative effort among member organizations including the University of Minnesota, Minnesota
Historical Society, and many other organizations.
Electronic Library for Minnesota
Use of the Electronic Library for Minnesota (ELM) and
other electronic resources provided to Minnesotans through legislative appropriations to Minitex and
State Library Services, a
division of the Minnesota Department of
Education, continued to grow with more than 35.8 million searches in ELM and over 15.2 million
retrievals of full-text sections from ELM resources. This showed a 10% increase from the FY2012
figures of 32.5 million searches in ELM – and an increase of about two-thirds over the 9.2 million
retrievals of FY2012.
The MnLINK Gateway provided Minnesotans with access to the
collections of most Minnesota libraries, while Minitex Resource Sharing
provided access to libraries beyond Minnesota. Cooperating with staffs of Minitex participating libraries,
MnLINK and Minitex Resource Sharing staff handled more than 364,000 requests for loans and articles from
libraries and patrons in Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Wisconsin. 90% of requests for
photocopies of articles were delivered electronically – often within hours of the receipt of the request.
Minitex staff have sent more than 1 million articles directly to libraries and the desktop of requesters
since Minitex Electronic Delivery (MEDD) began in 1994.
Minnesotans continued to make use of AskMN – The Librarian Is In,
the 24x7 virtual reference service administrated and facilitated by Minitex. 32,231 questions were answered
during FY2013 by staff from Minnesota cooperating libraries and a national back-up staff that provides
coverage when Minnesota libraries are closed. AskMN received its 100,000th question in February
2013. (AskMN began in April 2008.)
Cooperative Purchasing discounts and subsidies on electronic resources and
library products arranged by Minitex resulted in cost avoidance of over $36.4
million (excluding ELM) for Minitex participating libraries.
Nearly 1 million books, videos, and other physical items moved through the Minitex
Delivery System, which provides the backbone regional delivery system for Minnesota libraries with
connections to libraries in the Dakotas and Wisconsin.
Instruction, Education & Conferences
Sara Ring, Minitex Digitization, Cataloging & Metadata Education, conducts a training session.
Minitex instruction and education programs served approximately 7,000 staff
members from libraries as well as teachers and students of Minnesota K-12 schools during FY2013. Topics
ranged from ELM (the Electronic Library for Minnesota) to Resource Description and Access (or RDA) –
the new cataloging rules that superseded the former standard, AACR2, during the fiscal year. While the
majority of instruction sessions were online webinars, we continued to travel throughout the state and
region to maintain contact with staff of participating libraries.
Major conferences provided library staff with opportunities to learn about the growth of electronic books
and other electronic content, the role of libraries in today's world of continuous change, and the role
of library consortia in helping libraries deal effectively with that change.
High-Density Storage of Library Materials
Minnesota Library Access Center
Minnesota Library Access Center, a high-density storage facility managed by
Minitex, held 1.5 million items from 21 Minnesota libraries. Using materials from the MLAC collection,
staff filled 18,500 interlibrary loan requests and requests from the depositing library for return of
materials. MLAC stores materials owned by the University of Minnesota Libraries (60% of the total volumes)
and materials owned by other Minnesota libraries (40%). Minitex and University of Minnesota Libraries
staff took part in the growing national discussion of viewing collections in such storage facilities as
a whole – with the possible goal of cooperative sharing and reducing redundancies among the