Minnesota libraries cooperate to preserve 500,000 books for future generations

Academic libraries from across Minnesota are working together to ensure that nearly half a million scarcely-held books will remain available to Minnesotans for the foreseeable future. Their collaboration, dubbed the Minnesota Shared Print Program, which began in late 2022, reflects a commitment to preserving valuable research and literary resources.

Each of the program’s 24 participants has signed a memorandum of understanding that commits their institution to retain specific books. The initial retention period is for twenty years, and may be renewed. These books represent a significant part of the scholarly record that is in demand but not widely distributed within Minnesota or other regions of the United States.

The program’s administrative home is Minitex, a division of the University of Minnesota Libraries, directly funded by the Minnesota Office of Higher Education. The program’s costs, totaling $280,000, were funded by the Minitex budget.

Maggie Snow, director of Minitex, expressed enthusiasm about the program's impact on Minnesotans. "Access to Minnesota's vast array of academic and literary materials is now assured. By evaluating collections collectively, libraries can better serve their students, researchers, and communities,” said Snow.

The sheer volume of items collectively held by these libraries, over four million, posed a significant challenge to identifying materials for preservation. To address this, the libraries used GreenGlass, a collections analysis tool, to streamline the process and formulate an effective preservation plan. 

The Minnesota Shared Print Program offers many benefits to Minnesotans. Library users will retain access, through interlibrary loan, to the 500,000 books preserved through the program. Meanwhile, participating academic libraries will retain the flexibility to manage their collections, services, and spaces effectively.

The collaborative efforts of these 24 libraries follows the success of the Cooperative Collection Management Project, a 2019 pilot project that saw six libraries achieve the same objectives, on a smaller scale. The pilot project, also administered by Minitex, pinpointed 216,000 titles for preservation. The project was funded with a $76,000 grant from the Minnesota Department of Education using federal funding, CFDA 45.310 - Library Services and Technology Act, Grants to States Program (LS-00-18-0024-18).


Augsburg University
Bemidji State University
Bethel University
Concordia College, Moorhead
Concordia University, Saint Paul
College of Saint Benedict/Saint John's University 
Hamline University 
Macalester College
Metropolitan State University
PALS (Program for Automated Library Systems)
Minnesota State University, Mankato
Minnesota State University Moorhead
North Central University
Northwestern Health Sciences University
Southwest Minnesota State University
St. Catherine University 
St. Cloud State University
University of Minnesota Crookston
University of Minnesota Duluth
University of Minnesota Morris
University of Minnesota Twin Cities
University of Northwestern - St. Paul
University of St. Thomas 
Winona State University


Concordia College
College of Saint Benedict/Saint John's University 
Macalester College
Minneapolis College of Art and Design
St. Catherine University 
St. Cloud State University


Minitex is an information and resource sharing program of the Minnesota Office of Higher Education and the University of Minnesota Libraries, located on the campus of the University of Minnesota Twin Cities. Minitex coordinates a statewide interlibrary loan and delivery service that includes virtually every library in the state. We also maintain a core set of online resources freely available to all Minnesota students and residents. Last year, Minitex’s Cooperative Purchasing program saved libraries over $4.1 million.

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