Minitex has selected MackinVIA as the new platform for Ebooks Minnesota. Our priority continues to be barrier-free access to content via web reader, invisible authentication, and licensing that allows for unlimited and simultaneous access. These features are what Ebooks Minnesota has been known for in the past, and the MackinVIA platform is well-suited to maintain these priorities. Mackin’s relationships with publishers will be an asset to our Collection Development Team as it seeks to add in-demand books to the collection while maintaining our unlimited-access licensing model.
We will share more detailed information as we implement the new platform in the weeks leading up to our transition date of July 1. We acknowledge that this is a tight timeline. Our implementation team will do everything in its power to limit stress for library staff and to ensure minimal disruption in access to the collection.
Ebooks Minnesota was built on the socially just idea of barrier-free access to high-quality content regardless of geographic location or the resources available to any given community. Bibliolabs, our current platform vendor, has been instrumental to making this ideal a reality. We are grateful for their partnership and their forward thinking in the program’s foundational years.
The choice of MackinVIA as the new platform for Ebooks Minnesota comes in the wake of many months of careful planning and investigation. In the fall of 2020, we embarked on an environmental assessment of Ebooks Minnesota within the context of ebooks collections across the state. This assessment included a review of program documentation, an analysis of the current collection, a look at state demographics, a survey of the library community, and focus-group discussions with survey respondents. The results of that assessment included the following guiding statements:
- We resolve to improve access to the collection via the platform and promotion.
- We confirm our priority on barrier-free access via web reader, IP or geo-authentication, and reading without a personal account.
- We confirm our priority on unlimited, simultaneous access to the collection as a unique and defining value in the ebook environment.
- We resolve to place a new priority focus on popular materials for readers of all ages. We acknowledge that this focus is in tension with the unlimited, simultaneous licensing model, and will work within that tension.
- We confirm that the scope and intended audience of Ebooks Minnesota is all types of libraries and all Minnesota readers, with focus on K12 classroom uses and on personal interest reading of both fiction and nonfiction for all ages.
- These guiding statements have been instrumental in our consideration and review of ebook vendor platforms over the past year.
Our review also included a state-wide trial during which library staff were invited to test the online platform for both vendor finalists, and provide feedback. We are grateful to the many library staff who contributed their time to provide this essential input, to the Ebooks Minnesota Support Team at Minitex, the members of the Ebooks Minnesota Collection Development Team, and to Ashley Bieber of State Library Services. These teams and individuals have led us on our way.