Posts by Valerie Horton

April 18, 2018

Minitex: Where academic and public library publishing meet

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Multi-colored umbrellas on blue sky background

As we gear up for the Library Publishing Forum and the start of a new membership year in July, we are publishing a series of member profiles. These profiles will showcase the wide variety of publishing work happening at member institutions, and celebrate our community’s contributions to the wider publishing landscape. Many thanks to the members who agreed to answer our questions! See all of the published profiles, and look for a new one each week until the Forum. 

Tell us a bit about your publishing program.

Minitex is a multi-type consortium serving libraries primarily in Minnesota (MN), but also the Dakotas. We launched our publishing efforts in the summer of 2017 as a two-part system: 1) Minnesota Libraries Publishing Project (academic) and 2) MN Writes MN Reads (public). We designed the project to meet the specific needs of academic and public libraries, and then take advantage of the areas of overlap between the two.

The Minnesota Libraries Publishing Project (MLPP) provides a statewide instance of Pressbooks, an online publishing tool, as well as information sharing, training, and jointly-developed promotional materials for library staff. Our statewide version of Pressbooks is geo-authenticated, easy-to-access (e.g., does not require library ID), and is free of watermarks or any hidden costs. Our MLPP version of Pressbooks is being used by public, school, and academic libraries, and has seen a meteoric rise in use with 350 active authors in the nine months since we launched. We use Bibliolabs as our hosting vendor, and costs are shared by 20 academic libraries and Minitex.

MLPP also hosts a robust Community of Interest with over 30 academic libraries participating. Activities include frequent phone calls, workshop and conference programming, sharing of promotion and training materials, and peer advising to solve problems and help inform each library’s publishing practices. Academic librarians tell us that the ability to find and network with nearby peers has been one of the major advantages of MLPP.

Photo grig with staff photos and quote from text

The second linked project, MN Writes MN Reads, is funded by Minnesota’s 12 regional public library systems. This project uses Library Journal/Bibliolabs’ SELF-e system to onboard, build metadata, and circulate ebooks written by Minnesota authors.  Bibliolabs created a direct link so that any book created in Pressbooks can be automatically uploaded into the Minnesota SELF-e author collection, called Indie Minnesota. Minnesota’s public libraries are making Indie Minnesota available on their websites and through their catalogs. The public library community has just launched a statewide self-published author contest to promote the system.

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