In early June, statewide interlibrary loan delivery was suspended due to the Maine State Library awarding the contract for library deliveries to a new service provider. This disruption in van delivery service is expected to last until at least mid-August.

Recognizing the hardship this provides to our users during the busy summer months, TML, along with the public libraries in Biddeford, Falmouth, Gorham, Gray, Scarborough, South Portland, Westbrook and Windham have all agreed to work collaboratively, and – with the help of our staff (and their vehicles) – will commence transporting interlibrary loan materials between these nine locations beginning July 1.

Though far from the scope of access to materials our users are used to when statewide delivery is fully running, this localized effort (or, Mini-ME, as we’ve been affectionately calling it) does provide our users with delivery access to more than 860,000 items.

The requesting of materials will function through the online catalog as usual, though availability to request will be limited to only titles owned by at least one of the nine participating libraries.

There are some things to be aware of…

  • This initiative is being undertaken by library staff (and a wonderful retired colleague) and not by a professional delivery service – please be patient.
  • Many items may pass through multiple other libraries in our chain before they arrive at your library – please be patient.
  • All of our libraries are entering into this with the best of intentions and an openness to adjusting and adapting as we get a better feel for the demand for items – please be patient.
  • In case you missed the previous three points, please be patient – what we’re able to do on our own is not meant to be a replacement for what we all lost in June, but it’s something we would like to do for the benefit of our users.

How can you help this process?

  • Please request items, as usual, through the online catalog at The system will determine if an item is available for requesting and everything should (fingers crossed!) work as it usually does. Remember – requests can only be filled if an item is held in the collections of one of the nine libraries participating in this group effort.
  • Please help us by returning your borrowed items to the library you checked them out from – going to one library to check out an item and then returning it to another library creates more work for all of us.
  • As always, please be mindful of due dates. The sooner you are able to return an item to the library, the sooner the next person who wants it will get it. With a smaller pool of items to draw from, this is more important than ever.

This is NOT a long term solution, but a patch to a temporary disruption in the statewide van delivery service. We all hope that the regular delivery service will be back up and running sooner rather than later. In the meantime, we hope we can fulfill most of your requests among our nine participating libraries.

Please remember: as a member of a Minerva library, you continue to have “walk in” privileges with these – and many other – libraries, statewide. This means that, for example, if you have a card with the Windham Public Library, you can freely use it to check out materials at the South Portland Public Library (and vice-versa). We ask that, if you do visit another library (within this group of nine, or elsewhere in the state) and borrow materials in person, you then return these materials to the library you borrowed from.

Also, our online eBook and digital audiobook collections continue to be available to all users and, in some cases, may get you access to titles you would like more quickly than waiting for a physical copy.

a list of the nine libraries offering cooperative borrowing