This fall we conducted an environmental assessment of Ebooks MN, to take an intentional look at where the program stands within the context of the ebooks environment in Minnesota. That assessment included a review of program documentation, an analysis of the current collection, a look at state demographics, a survey of the library community, and follow-up focus group discussions with survey respondents. Our goal was to understand why libraries do and do not use Ebooks MN in order to redefine the program’s scope and position it as a core resource to as many libraries as possible. To help us articulate and pursue what’s next for Ebooks MN.
Here are our assessment outcome statements:
- We resolve to improve access to the collection via the platform and promotion.
- We confirm our priority on barrier-free access via web reader, IP or geo-authentication, and reading without a personal account.
- We confirm our priority on unlimited, simultaneous access to the collection as a unique and defining value in the ebook environment.
- We resolve to place a new priority focus on popular materials for readers of all ages. We acknowledge that this focus is in tension with the unlimited, simultaneous licensing model, and will work within that tension.
- We confirm that the scope and intended audience of Ebooks MN is all types of libraries and all Minnesota readers, with focus on K12 classroom uses and on personal interest reading of both fiction and nonfiction for all ages.
Thanks to the Ebooks MN Support Team at Minitex, Ashley Bieber at State Library Services, and to the Ebooks MN Collection Development Task Force for their roles in the assessment process. And thanks to community survey respondents and focus group participants for sharing your insights with us.
These resolutions and outcomes will guide Ebooks MN in the years ahead, including in our upcoming vendor selection process. Minitex will soon release a request for proposal that indicates what we are looking for in a statewide ebook platform and content provider. The process will play out through the first half of 2021 and will include an opportunity for the library community to review proposed options and provide input.
Thank you again for providing information to us this fall, and thank you in advance for continued help in shaping our statewide ebook collection in the year to come.