Important Notice about Inter-Library Borrowing

Jun 4, 2024 | News

York Public Library is a member of the Minerva Consortium and as such, cardholders are able to request and check out books and materials from 200+ libraries throughout the state. Those items are delivered via van service to YPL, an initiative funded by the Maine State Library, Minerva, and participating libraries. 

The Maine State Library is currently negotiating a new contract for van delivery service. In order to facilitate this transition, Minerva has temporarily suspended all inter-library lending as of Tuesday, June 4, 2024. This pause will help prepare Maine libraries for an interruption in van deliveries beginning on July 1.

Turning off requesting between libraries will allow materials currently in transit to be delivered; stop the flow of new, requested material in transit; help get as many items as possible back to their owning libraries; and reduce the number of items which might become stranded.

We apologize for this disruption in service in acquiring materials from other participating libraries in Maine. You WILL still be able to place holds on items owned by York Public Library and this does NOT affect the Maine Reciprocal Borrowing Program, which allows you to use your YPL card to check out books in person at other participating libraries.

We are not sure how long the interruption will last before van service can resume deliveries — but the Maine State Library expects there will be no van delivery for at least six weeks this summer, starting on July 1. We will continue to update you as we learn more.

For more details, please see the statement below from Maine InfoNet, a collaborative of academic, public, school, and special libraries that provides leadership in resource sharing, promotes cost effective solutions for quality library information services, and supports the cultural, educational, and economic development of Maine.


A statement from Maine InfoNet:

“Sharing between libraries is one of the best and most valuable services that libraries provide to their members.

The ability to smoothly deliver materials between libraries is what makes this work. The contract for the book delivery service is held by the Maine State Library and is subject to State Procurement Laws and procedures. This contract was required to go to through a competitive bidding process (Request for Proposal, or RFP) this year since all contracts that use public funds have to ensure competitive bidding at the state level.

Contracting as a result of this RFP for book delivery is currently working its way through a legal appeals process. Because of this transition to a new vendor who won the competitive bid, and an appeal to overturn that decision by an unsuccessful bidder, there will be an interruption to book delivery between libraries at the end of the current contract which expires on June 30th.

We do not currently have firm dates for the length of this interruption, but we expect that there will be no delivery for at least six weeks this summer, starting on July 1.

In anticipation of this interruption, the Maine InfoNet Board and the Minerva Executive Board have made the difficult decision to turn off all requesting between libraries within the MaineCat environment, including Minerva, MILS and URSUS, as of June 4th.

Patrons will still be able to request and place holds on locally owned items, but will not be able to request materials from other libraries. That said, York Public Library participates in a reciprocal borrowing program, however, York cardholders can go to any other participating library and check out items; given there will be no delivery service, please return items to their owning libraries otherwise they will sit in a bin at YPL and no one will be able to check them out until delivery service begins again. A list of participating libraries can be found here

Turning off requests between libraries will allow materials currently in transit to be delivered and will reduce the flow of new material entering delivery. This will help get as many items back to their owning libraries as possible and will help ensure materials are not stranded in the delivery system.

We know that this is a challenging situation that we are all facing. We recognize and feel the same frustration with this situation that you all are feeling. Your local library provides many other valuable services to your community, and we encourage everyone to explore those many services.

If you would like more details regarding this, please visit the FAQ that further explains this situation:  Van Delivery FAQ “

– Maine InfoNet