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AskMN - Minnesota's Statewide Cooperative Virtual Reference Service

MINITEX Library Information Network, working in collaboration with eight participating libraries, is delighted to announce the creation of AskMN: The Librarian Is In, Minnesota's new statewide cooperative virtual reference service!

In December, eight academic and public libraries came together to discuss the issues involved in cooperatively creating and running a Minnesota statewide virtual reference service. It was decided to move forward with the initiative to provide quality reference service and assistance online to all Minnesota residents with the use and support from the ELM databases (elm4you.org). Initially, the service will be operated by the eight libraries: Hennepin County Library -- Suburban and Minneapolis locations; Rochester Public Library; Minnesota State University, Mankato; St. Cloud State University; Joint Libraries of the College of St. Benedict/St. John's University; College of St. Catherine; and University of Minnesota, Duluth, as well as MINITEX Reference Services, with plans to extend participation to many more interested libraries in the near future.

The service will use OCLC's QuestionPoint virtual reference management software, which is well suited to handle multiple-library and cooperatively run programs like Minnesota's. Staff members of participating libraries will work together to answer questions from residents during selected hours Monday-Saturday with backup service provided by the QuestionPoint national cooperative virtual reference program to give us 24/7 coverage for anywhere, anytime answers. The service will be launched sometime this Spring.

Look for more information to follow throughout the coming months!

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