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Quick Summary

Minnesotans have created 990 book projects using the Minnesota Libraries Publishing Project (MLPP). With just 10 books to go until we reach 1,000, we take a moment to reflect on 10 notable facts about MLPP.

An image of a blue Minitex pen sitting on a notepad with "You can do it!" written at the top.

1. It started as a pilot project 

The Minnesota Libraries Publishing Project was launched in 2017 as a pilot project to make the Pressbooks Public authoring tool available to everyone in Minnesota. Our initial charter called for one year during which we would support library publishing and provide a venue for conversation and experimentation around open publishing practices. 

2. Partnerships make pilots work better 

Funding for Pressbooks hosting fees have been contributed by academic libraries from across the state. Program staffing has been contributed by Minitex, MELSA and the Council of Regional Public Library System Administrators (CRPLSA), and the University of Minnesota Libraries. Through MLPP, Pressbooks is integrated into CRPLSA’s MN Writes MN Reads program, which provides a suite of tools to “create, share, and read.” Minnesota’s Multitype Library Systems and regional education networks have provided outreach and education for content creators. 

3. There’s value in conversation 

In the early years of MLPP, we hosted a Community of Interest to bring together folks who were interested in library publishing. Those conversations provided a venue to share expertise, spread best practices, and spark new ideas. 

4. MLPP enables experimentation 

Many of MLPP’s 990 books include the word “test” in their titles, many are marked as private, and many are incomplete. But these nascent projects represent potential success. How many were the precursor to more fully fledged projects? How many provided an essential training ground in the use of an online publishing tool?

5. A lot of people have read MLPP-hosted books

Many of the titles published and hosted via MLPP are impressive and frequently read complete works. (Many more such works are likely to have been exported from the platform for printing or distribution through other networks.) A small sample includes:

6. Libraries use MLPP to gather community voices

Some of MLPP’s most inspiring works are the result of community voices coming together.

7. writers use MLPP to tell Minnesota stories

Several independent authors, including at least one Minitiex staff member, have published beautiful memoirs about life in Minnesota. 

8. MLPP enables independent authors to find an audience

Our state is full of voices that deserve to be heard, and MLPP has helped many of them find audiences in Minnesota and beyond. 

  1. 298,000 readers across the United States 
  2. 179,000 in India 
  3. 132,000 in the Philippines
  4. 35,000 readers in California 
  5. 28,000 readers in Texas
  6. 23,000 readers in Minnesota 

In fact, according to Google Analytics, MLPP titles have been read in every country in the world except for North Korea and the Central African Republic.

9. MLPP saves college students money 

A 2020 review by the authors of MLPP’s most-used course materials indicated that just four MLPP projects had saved Minnesota students $26,694 per semester in textbook costs. 

10. MLPP has been a success for Minnesota

These examples are just a small illustration of the positive impact MLPP has made. Whether it’s through saving students’ money, supporting independent authors, amplifying local voices, or telling our stories to the world, MLPP has made a difference for Minnesota. Explore many of the titles mentioned in this article, and more, by visiting the MLPP Book Showcase.

What started as a collaborative pilot project with uncertain value enters 2022 as an official service of Minitex. Who can say what the next 1,000 book projects will bring?

Written by

Matt Lee
Associate Director
Zach Miller
Head of Communications
Minnesota Libraries Publishing Project logo.

Online publishing tools for independent authors, supported by Minnesota's libraries