Case Study: MOBIUS Provides Equal Access Throughout Missouri


MOBIUS, a Missouri-based library consortium that includes 75 academic, public, and special libraries, is dedicated to providing equal access to library materials for all users in the state.  Founded in 1998, MOBIUS continually adds libraries to the consortium and implements new programs that empower library users through improved access to an expanding union catalog of library materials that now includes more than 7 million unique titles.


Librarians in Missouri were committed to sharing materials with users at diverse institutions all around the state, but they found traditional interlibrary loan systems to be frustrating, clumsy, and costly.  These librarians challenged themselves to find a solution that would provide equal access to library materials throughout the state, regardless of the size or budget of each library community.  They sought an affordable, seamless, patron-initiated borrowing system that removed the time-consuming and resource-intensive hurdles of traditional ILL.


After considering all the options, MOBIUS chose Innovative’s INN-Reach to power the MOBIUS union catalog and provide access to its users.  INN-Reach’s one-touch fulfillment has transformed resource sharing between Missouri’s libraries, making it faster and more cost-effective, while exponentially increasing items available to library users.

One-touch fulfillment allows patrons to request items from any MOBIUS library right from the online union catalog, and INN-Reach’s powerful technology processes the request with no more work for the lending and borrowing libraries than for a local hold request.

Today, the MOBIUS Union Catalog has expanded to include more than 27 million items, serving over 1.5 million people.  A courier service delivers library materials to member libraries once per day, 5 days per week.


The MOBIUS INN-Reach system currently handles approximately 230,000 patron-sourced transactions a year at a cost of approximately $2 to $3 per item, as compared to the $25 to $30 per item cost of traditional interlibrary loan, thus significantly increasing access to library materials while dramatically lowering costs.

“Everyone wins in this scenario,” says Donna Bacon, Executive Director of MOBIUS.  “Library users have access to materials that they would never have known about and are empowered to find their own information online and order it themselves.  Our libraries can focus their precious resources on collection development and expansion of service, rather than being weighed down by a big bill for ILL.”

“MOBIUS users often bypass local systems and go directly to the MOBIUS union catalog because they know they’ll have speedy, seamless access to a much larger universe of library materials,” says Donna Bacon, Executive Director of MOBIUS.


Since its founding in July 1998, MOBIUS has transformed library services for the citizens of Missouri.  The consortium’s purpose is to share library materials, information, and services using accessible, cost effective methods.  Today, the MOBIUS Union Catalog has expanded to include more than 27 million items, serving over 1.5 million people from the higher education community and the state of Missouri.

MOBIUS has 75 members, which include 64 academic, 5 public, 5 special libraries, the Missouri State Library, and two associate members serving 150 physical branches.  MOBIUS manages INN-Reach, a union catalog and resource sharing tool from Innovative, as well as their Sierra library services platform for member libraries.