A Salute to Minitex on its 40th Anniversary

January 30, 2012 at 1:14 pm

Mayo Clinic Libraries and by extension Mayo library users are deeply indebted to a service of the University of Minnesota called Minitex. Minitex began as a pilot project of the University of Minnesota libraries in 1969 with a mission to share university resources with the state. The term was derived from the initial pilot project called Minnesota Interlibrary Teletype Experiment or “MINITEX”.  Minitex traces its official founding to 1971 when it was funded by the Minnesota State Legislature as an ongoing service.  From July 2011 through June 2012 Minitex is celebrating its 40th anniversary of collaboration, resource sharing, and services to the libraries of Minnesota, North Dakota, and South Dakota. In addition to facilitating resource sharing among the libraries of the region, Minitex administers the Electronic Library of Minnesota (ELM), the Minnesota Library Access Center (MLAC), Minnesota Digital Library, and other programs that support the infrastructure and services of all types of libraries. Minitex has become an indispensable resource and partner for libraries in Minnesota and the Dakotas.

In recent years the Minnesota Library Access Center managed by Minitex has been of great value to Mayo.  MLAC is a high density storage facility located in climate-controlled limestone caverns beneath the west bank of the University of Minnesota Twin Cities.  Construction was funded by the State of Minnesota and many types of libraries participate including academic, public, and special libraries. Mayo Clinic Rochester libraries have benefited greatly by being able to send important but lesser used print material for permanent storage at MLAC.  As the Mayo libraries and local remote library storage at the North Warehouse in Rochester became filled to capacity in 2006, MLAC provided the safety valve to allow both decompression of traditional library stack areas in the Rochester libraries and the opportunity to renovate the libraries to meet changing user needs, particularly Mayo student needs, for collaborative space such as group studies, a cybercafé, and technology enabled meeting rooms by relocating lesser used print resources. By 2011, the MLAC caverns were filled with approximately 1.4 million volumes contributed by Minnesota libraries including various campuses of the University of Minnesota.  In January 2012 Mayo sent its last shipment of materials to MLAC bringing the total number of Mayo volumes stored (books and journal volumes) to approximately 130,000.   Minitex manages all stored resources and makes them accessible to all users. A daily shuttle to Rochester transports original volumes and a scanning service for journal articles is provided. Mayo continues to own the stored resources, but they are permanently located in the MLAC caverns and now serve as a resource not only for Mayo but also for the University of Minnesota and the region through Minitex.

 Happy 40th anniversary Minitex!

 J. Michael Homan
Director of Libraries

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