2024.06.06 Interruption to Interlibrary Loan Service

Hello Friends,

I have some unfortunate and frustrating news to share with you. As of June 4, 2024, all libraries within the state of Maine will be experiencing a temporary statewide interruption to our interlibrary loan service. This means that we are now unable to place any requests for materials (books, books on CD, DVDs, library of things, etc.) with any other library. Skidompha patrons with a Skidompha Library card may still place holds for Skidompha materials, and our Hoopla Digital Lending Service is still available, as is our Reciprocating Borrowing Program. This disruption is due to a pending interruption in the statewide library delivery contract.

I am sincerely sorry to report on this. Interlibrary loans are a cornerstone of library service and temporary or not, it is beyond aggravating that we are unable to continue to leverage the rich collections of all libraries. I look forward to resuming this service as soon as possible.

If you have any questions, please contact Beth Crist (Director of Special Projects) : beth.crist@maine.gov or Lori Fisher (State Librarian): lori.fisher@maine.gov

We will keep you updated as we know more.

My apologies.


Matthew Graff
Executive Director
Skidompha Public Library

Please see below for the Maine State Library’s official explanation of this disruption


A message for your patrons explaining the current situation, please feel free to share:

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 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.

Turning off requesting 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

James Jackson Sanborn
Executive Director
Maine InfoNet