The Minuteman Library Network (MLN) is a consortium of 42 libraries with 61 locations and a Central Site staff that work collectively to provide excellent service to its library users. The members include 35 public and 7 college libraries in the Metrowest region of Massachusetts. The vision of the Minuteman Library Network is to foster a strong community of libraries providing people with optimal access to resources and information. This vision is realized through the Network’s mission to strengthen member libraries through innovative and economical technologies, efficient resource sharing, collaboration and shared expertise.
In 1982, a group of suburban public library directors met in Lexington, Massachusetts to discuss the possibility of automating their libraries and sharing resources in a centralized database. In December of 1983, the Minuteman Library Network was incorporated as a non-profit organization under the Internal Revenue Code 501(c) and Chapter 180 of Massachusetts State Law. MLN core values are the critical component of our success. These core values include: a willingness to participate in the Network via its many committees; acceptance of a diversity of opinions; attitudes of respect and open-mindedness; encouragement of consensus-building; and a willingness to take informed risks.
From the beginning, Minuteman embraced a philosophy of a democratically run, member-driven organization as a guiding principle for the organization. Network decisions and policies are made by member library directors via a nine-member Board of Directors and a 42-member Membership Committee. Each member library reports to a local board of trustees/administration, which make individual library policy decisions including the loaning and requesting of materials and the assessment of fines/fees. The Network hires a staff to manage the computer systems and to implement the decisions made by the Membership Committee. MLN members meet regularly to discuss issues pertaining to Circulation, Reference, Bibliographic Records Maintenance, Technology, Collection Development, Youth Services, and Administration.
MLN is funded through annual membership fees and receives support for telecommunications and resource sharing through the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners (MBLC). Additional funding for telecommunications comes from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) E-rate program. Grant opportunities exist for hardware and software upgrades from the federal Library Services and Technology Act that is administered through the MBLC. (Click graphic to enlarge)
Minuteman provides services both directly to its members and, acting as the agent of those libraries, to the public. Below is a sample of services provided to member libraries and also to the public.
MLN maintains a shared library catalog for our member libraries. The shared web-based catalog offers an easy interface for finding current information on the location of over 6 million items, including books, periodical, and audiovisual materials. It gives our users the choice of searching one library or the entire network and allows them to request materials, to renew items, and to manage their library accounts online.
MLN was founded in 1983 to allow for more efficient sharing of library resources among member libraries. In FY11 over 1.93 million items were shared among MLN libraries. A library card issued by any certified library in the Commonwealth allows borrowing privileges in person or via inter-library loan. Our patrons may visit any MLN library in person to borrow materials, seek information, do research, or just browse. Also, anyone with a valid MLN card may request that materials be sent to their home library from another member library. All materials borrowed from Minuteman libraries may be returned to any member library. MLN members use delivery services provided by the Massachusetts Library System (MLS).
Common Borrower Card
A valid library card from one of the Minuteman libraries listed at:
will be honored at any of the libraries. Information about each library can be found on this page. This information is subject to change. You may want to call to verify library hours and other information before visiting.
- A valid library card must be presented to borrow items. A valid card is one that
- has not expired.
- has no charges for lost materials.
- has no fines greater than $5
- Fines may be paid at any library, but lost items must be paid to the owning library.
- Fines and fees may also be paid by credit card through the user’s online library account.
- Policies of the lending library prevail.
- Materials may be returned to any participating library.
- No renewals are allowed on materials that have holds on them.
- Patrons who owe more than $5 in fines are unable to check out or request materials.
You can search the Minuteman library catalog from any of the libraries’ web pages or from the Network page at:
Although MLN libraries share an automated system, policies may vary at each MLN library, so ask your local librarian for information regarding requests, renewals, loan periods, and fines.
Electronic Resources Gateway
MLN provides a gateway to access both online subscription periodical and research resources paid for through group and individual library purchases as well as those funded by the state and regional library system. The gateway provides for both in-library and remote access. These resources include full text access to journal articles, reference resources and area newspapers searchable though powerful, user-friendly interfaces. Online resources vary depending on membership, local interest and financial consideration. If you are unable to retrieve information on your own, please feel free to contact any librarian for assistance.
- Using your MLN card for Database Access
- Access to databases provided by the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners is available to home/remote users holding a valid Minuteman card.
- Access to databases provided by the Minuteman Library Network is available to residents of the 35 public library communities served by MLN, as well as current students, faculty and staff of the seven academic libraries.
- Access to some databases purchased by individual MLN libraries is limited to in-library use in that library and, where possible, home/remote access for patrons of that community.
Community Information Database
MLN maintains a Community Information Database to connect our users with local resources. The database contains contacts and other information from over 2,500 local organizations that serve residents of the Minuteman communities.
Statewide Resource Sharing
MLN participates in a statewide resource-sharing project called the Massachusetts Virtual Catalog. As one of the original participants, MLN provides access for its users to the resources of most of the other automated resource-sharing networks, the University of Massachusetts, and some Massachusetts State colleges.
Library Management System
MLN provides a modern, multi-functional integrated library automation system to assure that our member libraries can deliver the most efficient possible modern library services to their users. Our automated system (Millennium software by Innovative Interfaces Incorporated) includes modules for circulation transaction tracking; cataloging with database maintenance and authority control; tracking of items transferred within the network; request, overdue, and fine management; software to aid in the acquisition of library materials; and a system to automate the receipt and cataloging of serial publications such as magazines and journals.
Cataloging and Database Maintenance
Our Central Site staff provides cataloging services for all titles acquired by member libraries, ensuring that new acquisitions are represented in the Minuteman Library Network Catalog. In addition, they perform quality control for all records to maintain accuracy, authority and currency. Our goal is to make the rich collections developed by our member libraries accessible and discoverable to Minuteman Library Network patrons.
Internet and Telecommunications
MLN supplies Internet connectivity to its member libraries and supplies email accounts to their staff. Our integrated library automation system and the demands of our information services environment require a dependable, robust telecommunications network, which is managed by MLN Central Site staff. We are constantly monitoring our network capacity to ensure appropriate service to our members and their patrons.
Staff Training and Support
MLN Central Site employees support member library staffs through training and consulting. The MLN facility has a large conference room used for meetings and large group training sessions and a well-equipped room dedicated to member training. MLN staff members are available to consult with members to assist them in some technical areas.
MLN librarians meet together regularly to discuss issues of collection assessment and maintenance. Our integrated automation system allows libraries to run reports to assist in maintaining collections that are current, complete, and responsive to our users’ needs.
MLN Central Site staff produces various reports for libraries and the network to track transactions statistically; provide lists of new materials; produce lists of our most popular materials; and provide custom reports as needed.
Minuteman by the numbers
|Total items owned||6,632,189|
|Circulation Transactions in Fiscal Year 2012||16,782,102|
|Items loaned from one Minuteman library to another to fill a patron request in FY2012||1,980,017|
|Holds placed in a MLN library in FY2012||376,268|
|Holds placed from remote locations (home, work, etc.) in FY2012||2,433,646|
MLN Sound Recordings
MLN Holdings by Format
If you have questions regarding details of your library account (overdue fines, renewals, returned materials, forgotten PIN numbers), suggestions for purchase or other suggestions or comments, please contact the staff at a Minuteman library near you.
Minuteman Library Network employs user surveys to solicit feedback on new services and features. We encourage you to respond to the surveys to help us better serve you. Surveys will be posted to the Minuteman Library Network home page and the MLN catalog, when available.