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Criteria for Participation in Resource Sharing Services of Minitex

The policy defines the requirements for Minitex participation for Minnesota academic libraries and state government libraries. Criteria for libraries that participate in Minitex resource sharing programs through other inter-agency contracts are identified by their appropriate State Library Agency. The criteria described herein also serve as a model for contract-based agreements.

The Legislative intent for funding Minitex resource sharing services was to enable Minnesota libraries to share their collections to support students, faculty and other users of Minnesota academic and state government libraries. The Legislature has also provided appropriations to Minitex to operate a suite of programs that enhances and supports resource sharing.

Eligibility Requirements

Eligible libraries meet all the following minimum requirements for participation in Minitex resource sharing services:

  • A bibliographically organized collection of materials and resources such as print, electronic, non-book materials, and computer software;
  • A searchable network-accessible catalog that provides access to the collection;
  • Collections available to users and accessible to the public; and
  • A commitment to providing adequate library services and cooperative resource sharing.

To be eligible for participation in Minitex services subsidized by the State of Minnesota, academic libraries must be part of a Minnesota-based institution of higher education that is registered or licensed by the Minnesota Office of Higher Education and has:

  • 80% of the enrolled student body comprised of Minnesota residents, or
  • 80% of its student body made up of Minnesota residents and residents of states with tuition reciprocity with Minnesota, or
  • 80% of the student body comprised of Minnesota residents and students living on the campus or physically resident in Minnesota.

Standards and Requirements for Participation

Participating libraries demonstrate a commitment to providing adequate library services and cooperative resource sharing by meeting the following minimum standards for personnel and services:


  • At least one full-time professional librarian whose responsibilities include administration of the library and liaison with the shared cooperative interlibrary system of which the library is a member;
  • A sufficient number of qualified staff (i.e., with appropriate education or experience in library and/or other learning/information resources) to support the mission of the institution or agency; and
  • Trained personnel to assist users in locating and securing resources and information;


  • Regular and timely user instruction in the use of library resources and other learning/information resources, especially those provided by the State of Minnesota;
  • Interlibrary loan services (i.e., borrowing for the library's users and lending its resources to the Minitex Office and requesting libraries); and
  • Adherence to standards and guidelines approved by the Minitex/Minnesota State Library Standards Review Task Force.

A. Collection and Access Requirements

Each participating library develops and maintains its own collections, bibliographic records and personnel to support its institution's or agency's programs, to serve its community of users, and to contribute to the library community's resource sharing network.

Materials provided through the Minitex Document Delivery Program should not be considered a substitute for local ownership of essential resources. As a general rule, 95% of a participating library's user information needs, including use of licensed full-text resources, should be met by the local library and/or its local or regional inter-library agreements. The remaining 5% represents infrequent and/or supplemental information needs that are referred to the Minitex office. This benchmark was chosen to protect the value of the Network, ensuring equitable sharing of resources and guarding against abuse of Network participation by any institution or agency.

Participation in Minitex does not diminish the responsibility of each library's funding/appropriating authority to provide adequate financial support to meet current and ongoing needs for information resources, staff, and operational infrastructure.

B. Staffing and Operational Requirements

Each participating library is expected to have a professional librarian whose responsibilities include administration of the library and to designate a key contact with the Minitex Office. The library's staff is expected to assume the following responsibilities:

  • Share resources consistent with library policies, including collections, bibliographic records, reference support, and staff expertise;
  • Update and maintain cooperatively developed Network information (for example, for OCLC participants, current cataloging and up-to-date serial holdings information);
  • Abide by Minitex guidelines and protocols for interlibrary loan requests, such as using the correct procedures and responding promptly to overdue and lost book notices. It is expected that libraries will maintain the integrity of the request process by properly updating the interlibrary loan system that they use;
  • Follow Minitex policies, procedures and protocols, such as using approved forms for communication, notifying Minitex of any changes in the names of contact persons or changes in IP addresses, and being available to interact with the Minitex staff during regular business hours; and
  • Keep up-to-date with new developments and changes in the Network; read Minitex communications, including having at least one staff member monitor the Minitex electronic news list; and participate in Minitex training and continuing education opportunities.

Attachment A: Interpretation of Criteria & Compliance Process

A. Need for Professional Librarian

It is expected that the institution will have a full-time professional librarian whose responsibilities include administration of the library. This librarian is responsible for training and supervising designated library staff who interact with the Minitex Office and other participating libraries during day-to-day operations.

A full-time professional librarian should be available when courses are being taught and when the library's host institution or agency is open for regular business. When it is not possible for professional librarians to provide this support within a 40-hour work week, trained personnel should be available in the absence of a professional librarian to assist users in locating and securing materials and information when the library is open and to interact with Minitex staff during regular business hours.

For the purpose of these Criteria, a professional librarian is defined as follows:

One who has a master's degree from a program accredited by the American Library Association or a master's degree in school library media from a program recognized by national accreditation organizations.

For combined technical and community colleges or consolidated community and technical colleges, the designated administrative unit for the named college is responsible for ensuring that each campus offers a professionally developed library program of services and provides a written summary of that service to Minitex, if requested.

B. Computation of the 95% Criterion

Currently, the criterion to measure whether an institution meets 95% of its users' information needs is measured biennially by counting circulation as follows: the total number of in-house used materials on a 3:1 ratio (3 in-house uses to 1 circulation), circulated materials, reserve use, number of full-text downloads from licensed electronic resources, and number of requests received from other libraries divided by the number of requests sent to the Minitex office to derive the service percentage.

C. Compliance Process

Every two years, Minitex will examine participating institutions' responses to the Academic Library Survey (ALS) and query libraries if there are questions about compliance with the Criteria. Libraries meeting the Criteria will be listed on the Minitex website as such. Institutions whose libraries do not meet the criteria will be sent a letter by the Minitex Director indicating the concern and requesting that they demonstrate their commitment to a professionally developed library program. If a library is part of the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities System, a copy of the letter will be sent to the library representative in the Office of the Chancellor.

Minitex Policy Advisory Council to Minnesota Office of Higher Education: Statement Regarding Criteria for Participation

As the Internet, library and information technologies, and collaborations like MnLINK make more and more information available to library users, their information demands will increase in number and sophistication. Today's libraries and their staffs are expected to meet these demands, shifting resources and developing expertise to adjust to the changing landscape of user demand. Librarians must be able to help users find what is available, answer questions, appraise technologies, evaluate sources (including resources provided for all Minnesotans through state appropriations), and meet users' expectations for materials regardless of format and in any location within the state.

Investments by the State of Minnesota and the University of Minnesota Libraries have created significant collections and innovative services that benefit the state and region through cooperative library networks. Minitex provides the infrastructure to maximize the use of resources of the University of Minnesota Libraries and other libraries throughout the state and region and the distribution of these resources between and among participating libraries. In supporting Minitex, the State and Minitex Policy Advisory Council affirm that Minnesota's libraries work cooperatively to serve the information needs of Minnesotans, and there is an expectation that each library will contribute to the resource sharing enterprise in some way.

The Legislative intent for funding the resource sharing services of Minitex was to enable Minnesota libraries to share their collections to support students, faculty, and other users of libraries of Minnesota higher education institutions and state government.

In addition to funding for resource sharing, the Minnesota Legislature has also provided appropriations to the Minnesota Office of Higher Education for Minitex to support additional services that include but are not limited to 1) development, management, and training related to the Electronic Library for Minnesota, MnLINK, and the Minnesota Library Access Center programs; 2) providing cooperative purchasing including subsidies for scholarly academic electronic resources; 3) serving as the network agency for OCLC services including administrative support for Minnesota academic and state government libraries; and, most recently 4) support for the Minnesota Digital Library. This suite of programs funded by the Legislature enhances and supports resource sharing.

Minitex is made up of cooperating publicly and privately supported academic libraries, public libraries, school media centers, and special libraries, such as those in teaching hospitals and state government. Since no one library can be self sufficient, these libraries have joined together for over 30 years to successfully develop and share their resources to benefit all of their customers.

The responsibility for providing excellent library services in this increasingly complex information environment rests with local library staff and funding authorities. Minitex participation is not to be viewed as a substitute for local ownership of materials or provision of electronic resources required by a library's users. The provision of quality service rests upon the decision making, knowledge, and experience of local librarians and library staff and builds upon the physical and electronic collections and services they build and maintain. The benefit that individual libraries derive from Minitex participation depends upon the skill of local library staff to maximize their local resources and a commitment to making the most of opportunities resulting from their libraries' participation in Minitex. Libraries also are responsible for supporting ongoing training and development of staff to ensure that they keep current with emerging technologies, service demands, and opportunities provided through State support.

Decisions regarding which resources should be available in the local library and which should be sought through Minitex, MnLINK, and other resource sharing partnerships must be made locally. However, in an age of accountability, constrained resources, and calls for quality services for users, libraries need to ensure equitable sharing of resources and responsibilities throughout the Network. The elements of the Principles and the Criteria protect the integrity of Minitex as a whole. The goal is a statewide network of participant libraries in which each library supports its users, contributes to their development as information consumers, and contributes to the mutual services that comprise a resource sharing network. Meeting the Criteria and sharing resources leverage the state's investment in library resources. Local investment in programs (e.g., information literacy) to ensure effective use of available library resources and Minitex services is an important evidence of libraries' accountability to the state for taxpayer support that they have received.

The members of the Minitex Policy Advisory Council to the Minnesota Office of Higher Education believe it is most important that all participating libraries strive to meet the Criteria for Participation in the Minitex Library Information Network and fulfill the roles and responsibilities of participating libraries.

Approved: September 7, 2007

Staff contact
Gerri Moeller

Associate Director for Resource Sharing and Delivery