Minitex is a publicly supported network of academic, public, state government and special libraries working cooperatively to improve library service for people in Minnesota, North Dakota and South Dakota. North and South Dakota libraries participate through contracts between Minitex and the North and South Dakota State Libraries, and there is reciprocity agreement with Wisconsin libraries.
Minitex is funded by the Minnesota Legislature through the Minnesota Office of Higher Education to serve Minnesota academic and state government libraries. It is a joint program of the Office of Higher Education and the University of Minnesota. The Minnesota State Library Services (the Minnesota state library agency), provides additional funding to support services for Minnesota libraries and library users.
Minitex programs are coordinated by the Minitex staff located at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities Libraries, which fills the majority of requests sent to Minitex.
Minitex enhances the effectiveness and efficiency of participating libraries by expanding their access to local, state, regional, national and international information resources.
This is accomplished by promoting partnerships, effective delivery of needed information and by sharing library resources including collections and electronic resources, bibliographic records and reference services through conventional, electronic and innovative means. Minitex pursues technological innovations to provide new opportunities for delivery of services.
In fiscal year 2007, more than 2,100 libraries participated in Minitex:
- 1,731 K-12 school libraries
- 180 public libraries
- 158 academic libraries
- 89 special libraries
MnLINK is a statewide virtual library that electronically links people to Minnesota's rich library resources. It is funded by an appropriation from the Minnesota State Legislature, and is currently made up of two major components:
- MnLINK Gateway: provides access to electronic resources including online catalogs from over 20 Minnesota library systems and the Electronic Library for Minnesota, which includes a wide variety of subscription databases made available through collective, statewide contracts.
- Integrated Library System (ILS): a shared library automation system (software and hardware) for the University of Minnesota, the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities and Minnesota state agencies that allows for equal access to library resources across the state.
Launched in April 2009, the MnKnows portal provides Minnesotans one-stop access to statewide library services:
- MnLINK Gateway: find books, CDs, DVDs, articles and more through and have them delivered to a local library.
- Electronic Library for Minnesota (ELM): search trusted information resources to find online articles and electronic books on a vast array of topics.
- Minnesota Reflections: discover photos, documents and maps related to Minnesota history
- AskMN: get real-time answers from a librarian 24/7.
- Research Project Calculator: use to create sensible homework timelines.
MnKnows.org also provides a link to the Minnesota Library Directory, which lists public, academic, and other libraries in a specified area. The directory is maintained by State Library Services, a division of the Minnesota Department of Education.