In the past two decades there has been enormous growth and change in library services in Minnesota due primarily to the automation of major library functions: catalogs, circulation, and reference (see sidebar). In Minnesota, just over half of the population is concentrated into the seven‐county Twin Cities Metropolitan Area, and just under half of the population is spread over 80 counties with few other large or medium‐sized cities. Minnesota is unique, however, in that no areas of the state lack free access to public library services. Furthermore, because of a statewide reciprocal borrowing compact, 99.5 percent of the population has free access to the services and resources of any public library in the state.
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