Minerva - Networking,
Shared Intelligence, Wisdom
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.