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Minnesota Department of Health Library Update

The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) announced in August 2010 that severe budget constraints would affect its Barr Library operations which could have resulted in closure. Since that time, the department has consulted with Linda Watson, Todd Fenton, and Nicole Theis-Mahon from the University of Minnesota Health Sciences Libraries (HSL) about ways to continue meeting the information needs of MDH staff and others served by the library. In November, HSL formalized an agreement with MDH for consulting and other services, and will also provide limited support for the Department of Human Services (DHS) who contracts with Barr for library services.

Following this consultation, MDH decided to continue offering limited library services, with a few specific changes.
• Barr Library will convert all of its print journal subscriptions to online only, and will continue to support the interface for online journals for DHS. Nicole Theis-Mahon has managed this renewal process with Barr's subscription vendor, Ebsco. Electronic journals and databases will continue to be accessed through Barr Library's website and online catalog.
• The library will have a significantly reduced budget and limited staffing. HSL will work with MDH to determine a process for referring requests that may exceed the Barr Library's capacity to the University Libraries' fee-based service, InfoNOW.
• The library will have a smaller collection and has moved to Snelling Office Park at 1645 Energy Park Drive, St. Paul. Contact Mark Smith for further information (651-201-5093 mark.a.smith@state.mn.us).

MDH will continue evaluating its library services, and further changes could be made as the budget challenges that prompted the initial library changes are likely to continue.

HSL is pleased that the Barr Library remains open for business, and that we are in a position to help make this a smooth transition for them. If you have any questions about the process, please contact Linda Watson (lwatson@umn.edu), Todd Fenton (tmfenton@umn.edu) or Nicole Theis-Mahon (theis025@umn.edu).

Linda Watson
Director, Health Sciences Libraries
University of Minnesota

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