Happy Anniversary, MeLCat: Celebrating 10 Years of Resource-Sharing for Michigan Libraries

Contact: Martin Ackley, Director of Public and Governmental Affairs (517) 241-4395
Agency: Education

January 9, 2015

LANSING – As its remarkable growth and service record reaches its 10th anniversary mark Saturday, MeLCat might be crowing, high-fiving and fist-bumping – if it were human.

Michigan’s e-library catalog and inter-library loan service, whose name is like something out of the Hunger Games series, has quietly grown from 12 to 430-plus member libraries while amassing enough database content – 47 million holdings – to decurl bookish Jeopardy game show host Alex Trebek’s signature mustache.

"The beauty of MeLCat is that it levels the playing field for libraries large and small, enabling them to share their resources statewide to better serve patrons and their information needs," said State Superintendent Mike Flanagan. “This helps continue to build Michigan’s Culture of Reading, and learning across-the-board.”

Available at http://mel.org/melcat, MeLCat is a marvel of interconnectivity. It serves more than 430 public, school, academic and special libraries with various automation systems, and hosts nine non-automated facilities.

“This unassuming workhorse filled more than one million information requests last year and seven million requests since 2005, with an average request fill rate of nearly 90 percent,” State Librarian Randy Riley said. “MeLCat provides a wonderful collection of digital resources – eBooks, audio, movies, music and more – to libraries and their patrons across the state. 

The Midwest Collaborative for Library Services (MCLS) has been an important partner in MeLCat's development since 2005, continuing support and training for member libraries. 

MeLCat is one of the most-important projects MCLS has been involved with. We are pleased to have worked with the Library of Michigan; the cooperatives; and libraries around the state to make MeLCat the success that it is today,” said Randy Dykhuis, MCLS Executive Director.

MCLS and Library of Michigan staff work with MeLCat member libraries to ensure that requested library materials move around Michigan in a timely and efficient manner to those who need them.

Making research easier is a goal of the Michigan eLibrary, or MeL. Using MeLCat as a discovery tool facilitates faster knowledge of, and access to, important materials available in Michigan libraries.  Those interested in locating special, unique or historical materials found in library collections all over Michigan can use the catalog for this purpose.

“MeLCat’s success is a testament to the power of all types and sizes of libraries working together to build a service that benefits Michigan residents statewide,” Riley said.

MeL and MeLCat receive support from the U.S. Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), administered by the State of Michigan through the LM. The State of Michigan provides additional funding.