Minerva provides the structure, systems, and support for member libraries to enhance services to library patrons through collaboration.
How does Minerva work?
The Minerva Users Council ensures the successful ongoing operation of Minerva and fosters positive relationships and communication among Minerva libraries. The Users’ Council is composed of one representative from each participating Minerva library. An Executive Committee develops proposals relating to budget, allocation of resources, policies, procedures, and standards for the approval of the Users’ Council. The Executive Committee is composed of nine representatives (four from public library members, three from college/post-secondary library members, one from health science library members, and one from school district library members).
Various user groups, such as Circulation and Cataloging, meet throughout the year. These forums are used to discuss issues, define best practices, exchange ideas, and provide training . Minerva professional staff, employed by the Maine State Library, facilitates the user groups. Maine InfoNet and the Maine State Library also provide technical, administrative, and financial services to Minerva.
Benefits to Libraries
- Cutting-edge library technology
- Minerva membership ensures significant and cost-effective improvements to library operations by providing an integrated, automated library system from Innovative Interfaces, Inc. The system supports circulation, overdues, cataloging with database maintenance and authority control, serials management, acquisitions, and statistical reporting. This cutting-edge library technology would be prohibitively expensive for individual libraries.
- On-going technical support
- Staff at Maine InfoNet provide technical support and assistance to Minerva libraries. Minerva professional staff attend conferences and receive training to stay informed about current trends in technology. Technical support is centralized and all hardware maintenance, backup and general operational activities are handled at the central site, rather than in each member library. Upgrades to the system are provided at no cost.
- Shared intelligence and professional networking
- Communication with other library staff is one of the most important benefits offered by Minerva. There are a number of user groups for specific areas of Minerva , such as circulation and cataloging, that have regular meetings to discuss issues, define best practices, and exchange ideas. The meetings are lead by professional Minerva staff and often include training. A number of web discussion forums are also available to Minerva participants. One of the guiding philosophies of Minerva is that members can learn from each other. These user groups and discussion forums allow for a free exchange of ideas and information.
- A Library without walls
- The Minerva catalog includes over six million items from more than fifty Maine libraries. This shared catalog provides access to not only books but also DVDs, audiobooks, magazines, and music CDs. Minerva can be searched by author, title, subject, keyword, and material type.
- Books and more – faster!
- Minerva libraries have access to materials from Maine Info Net libraries and SOLAR libraries. Library staff can easily and quickly order interlibrary loans for patrons from these libraries. The statewide delivery service, which is subsidized by Minerva, reduces postage costs and shortens delivery time.
- Cooperative collection development
- As Minerva continues to mature, the potential for collaborative collection development and assessment is unlimited. The shared catalog enables participating libraries to specialize in specific subjects or genres, reducing the need for each library to supply everything to everyone.