Fiscal Year 2013 – Minitex Year in Review

Valerie Horton.

Valerie Horton

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.

Bill DeJohn.

Bill DeJohn

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 libraries.

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, COLLABORATIVE LIBRARIANSHIP.

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 state.

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 logo.

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.

Digital Public Library of America logo.

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 initiative.

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

Electronic Library for Minnesota logo.

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.

Resource Sharing

MnLINK Gateway logo.

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.

Virtual Reference

AskMN logo.

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

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.

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

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 collections.

Contact Us

University of Minnesota
Wilson Library, Room 60
309 19th Avenue South
Minneapolis, MN 55455

Phone: 612-624-4002
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