Minitex wins grant for e-book app

$695,000 IMLS grant will fund development of app for library users

Row of colorful books with electronic book readerLibrary users will more easily access e-books across multiple systems thanks to SimplyE, a free app for phones and tablets that is being further developed at Minitex, a joint program of the University of Minnesota Libraries and the Minnesota Office of Higher Education.

The current version of SimplyE, to be released later this year, eliminates the need for a patron to switch between multiple e-book vendor apps to access collections from a single library. This new phase of development will enable a patron to access e-books from their public library, their college library, and other shared statewide collections (such as Ebooks Minnesota), all in one app. Additional possible enhancements include annotations and citations that will make SimplyE more useful to researchers and students.

Goal is to improve library e-book experience

More information
Zachariah Miller
Minitex
U of M Libraries
612-301-6658
Minitex has been awarded $695,000 by the Institute of Museum and Library Services to lead this new work. The initial development of SimplyE was funded by IMLS and led by the New York Public Library (NYPL). Project partners include the Massachusetts Library System and Reaching Across Illinois Library System.

SimplyE works with Android and Apple operating systems and makes it quick and easy to find, borrow, and read library e-books. The experience is seamless: a patron enters their library barcode information once and from there it’s three clicks to read an e-book. 

“Our goal is to make the library e-book reading experience as enjoyable and easy as possible,” said Valerie Horton, Director of Minitex. “SimplyE goes a long way towards libraries achieving that goal.” 

“The New York Public Library continues to be a world leader in developing new ways for libraries to serve e-content to their patrons,” said Micah May, NYPL’s Director of Business Development. “We recognize the critical role that strong partners play in achieving that goal for library systems of all sizes. Minitex has been a valuable collaborator, and we are excited to be partnering with them on this project. We believe the results of this collaboration will help us enhance SimplyE and provide more libraries with new and better ways to serve their users.”

The Digital Public Library of America and the New York Public Library will also make important contributions to this project.

About Minitex

Minitex, a division of the University of Minnesota Libraries, is a publicly supported network of academic, public, state government, and special libraries working cooperatively to improve library service for their users in Minnesota. Minitex is funded by the Minnesota Legislature through the Minnesota Office of Higher Education and is a joint program of the Office of Higher Education and the University of Minnesota. State Library Services, a unit of the Minnesota Department of Education, provides additional funding to support services for Minnesota libraries and library users.

About the Institute of Museum and Library Services

The Institute of Museum and Library Services is the primary source of federal support for the nation’s 123,000 libraries and 35,000 museums. Its mission is to inspire libraries and museums to advance innovation, lifelong learning, and cultural and civic engagement. Its grant making, policy development, and research help libraries and museums deliver valuable services that make it possible for communities and individuals to thrive.

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