Metro Libraries Embrace E-Book Sharing

Image by flickingerbrad. Retrieved from Flickr. Used under Creative Commons' licensing.
Image by flickingerbrad. Retrieved from Flickr. Used under Creative Commons’ licensing.

Recently, Minnesota made the news around a consortial lending model for  eBooks. Metropolitan Library Service Agency (MELSA) is the state organization created to support cooperation and collaboration among the seven-county Twin Cities area libraries. And, 3M is right in MELSA’s backyard! What is exciting is that a  conversation happened between the two, and after a year of working together, 3M has developed CloudLink, a new feature for its eBook lending system for consortia!

Many consortial  arrangements involve member libraries contributing eBooks to a common pool that patrons from all libraries can use. In addition to this functionality, CloudLink also enables any patron from any MELSA library to check out eBooks from the private collections of any other MELSA library, provided there are no holds for the title. Unless a publisher has a policy that prohibits consortial lending, the CloudLink system will allow eBooks to be checked out by patrons from any library.

CMLE staff continue to work with others to monitor possibilities for regional or statewide sharing of eBooks. As you can imagine, the needs of academic, public, K-12 and special libraries can be quite different (yet overlapping in some areas). Existing consortial models are often not a “one size fits all”  and at this moment in time, I remain skeptical that a statewide model exists to serve all needs with one solution. But that is today, the wild west of eBooks is changing every day! Stay tuned……

Read the full Digital Shift article (Nov.5)

Also, read an infoDOCKET article on this subject (Sept.18)