Students sit on the steps of the O'Shaughness-Frey Library during a communications class. Liam James Doyle/University of St. Thomas

University Libraries Transition to MnPALS

In the spring of 1969, seven local private college libraries incorporated as a library consortium called CLIC (Cooperating Libraries in Consortium). The then College of St. Thomas was one of those institutions, and along with Augsburg College, Bethel College, Concordia College, College of St. Catherine (all of which became universities), Hamline University and Macalester College, we began to share our collections as if we were one library.

Now, after more than five decades of collaboration and cooperation, CLIC is coming to an end. Over the course of the summer of 2021, St. Thomas, along with the remaining CLIC libraries, is migrating into the MnPALS library consortium. MnPALS (Minnesota Program for Automated Library Systems) is a larger consortium with nearly 60 libraries across the state, including the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system, community colleges, government agency libraries, private colleges and special libraries. The University of St. Thomas Libraries will be tied with Minnesota State University, Mankato Library as the largest in the group.

MnPALS has been operating as a consortium since 1979 with a shared library system. The consortium maintains a staffed headquarters, called the PALS office, at Minnesota State University, Mankato. “The PALS team and the members of MnPALS are excited to welcome CLIC to the consortium and look forward to working together. The CLIC libraries have a reputation for collaboration that will bring tremendous value to MnPALS,” said Johnna Horton, executive director of MnPALS.

LibrarySearch logo.What will this move mean for the St. Thomas community? Since the MnPALS libraries are using the same library system that we currently use, there will be little change for St. Thomas users following the university's move. One noticeable difference will be the library search, currently called “CLICSearch,” which will be renamed to “LibrarySearch” in early July. LibrarySearch will look and function the same, but users will find content from a larger group of libraries represented in the search results, making it easier to find and request materials from other libraries.

Organizationally, St. Thomas will be cooperating with libraries that are closer to the university in size and in academic programs. St. Thomas will get expanded technical support for its library management system from the PALS office, and the university should experience fiscal efficiencies as a result of cooperative systems and software purchasing in a larger consortium. St. Thomas also benefit from shared practices, advice from a broader set of library colleagues, and tighter connections between this consortium and Minitex, a regional facilitator for licensing and sharing resources between Minnesota libraries and beyond.

The final move from CLIC to MnPALS will be happening in the first week of July and CLIC will dissolve as of Aug. 31.

For more details on the migration to MnPALS, see this FAQ.