The Maine State Library has announced a contract dispute is bringing its inter-library loan program to a screeching halt, and loaning between Maine’s libraries may not resume until later in the summer.

New inter-library loan requests were not possible as of June 4, according to state library officials.

On Thursday, the website for Minerva, the system that processes requests for loaned items, indicated, “Due to a pending interruption in the statewide library delivery contracts, requesting between libraries is temporarily suspended.”

According to Minerva’s website, the service includes more than six million individual items from more than 60 participating libraries statewide.

Normally, the program allows anyone with a library card in Maine to request books or other materials they can’t find at their home library through other libraries throughout the state.

The problem, according to Maine State Library, is that a delivery van service is responsible for moving the materials between libraries. Recently, the state awarded the FY2025 contract for inter-library delivery to STAT Courier, a company based in St. Louis, Missouri, which operated in 39 states, including Maine.

But, according to Maine State Library’s website, another competing bidder that lost to STAT Courier is appealing the award, and until that is resolved Maine could be without a service to deliver materials between libraries. 

The current delivery contract, according to the site, ends on June 30. Exactly how long the appeals process will take is unclear.  

The site indicates it could take up to 60 days, but also noted, “It is unknown at this time how much of a gap in service there will be, due to the ongoing appeal process. This makes it virtually impossible to create a firm timeline and work out all aspects of a plan in advance for how to address a gap in service.”

Libraries across the state, including in Portland, Bangor, Lewiston and Gray, published announcements on their websites this week indicating that interlibrary loan services are being suspended.

“We know that this is a challenging situation and recognize and feel the same frustration with this situation that you all are feeling,” the Lewiston Public Library posted.

Officials in Gray also announced the suspension of interlibrary loans from its public library on June 5.

“Please know we love and value van delivery and the interlibrary system as much as you do,” said Gray Public Library Director Josh Tiffany. “We are working on plans to help bridge the gap while we live without our daily deliveries, so please stay tuned.”