How to Join

The MSC application process takes place once a year, typically opening in late December and closing in early February. Contact Cara Orban with your questions, to request a cost estimate, and to learn what benefits and obligations come with being a Montana Shared Catalog member. The application contains a section which answers many of the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) about the MSC. 


Publicly funded or not-for-profit libraries including academic, school, public, or special, are eligible and encouraged to apply. For-profit libraries are invited to join the MSC, but are not eligible for LSTA funding.

Libraries may apply for either the Large Library program, the Middle Library program, or the Small Library program, but not more than one program.

Applicant libraries must appear in the online Montana Library Directory.

Applicant libraries must have an approved Collection Management Policy.

MSC members must maintain annual enrollment in OCLC Group Services. Information on OCLC membership and enrollment can be found at:

Applicant libraries must have, or have installed prior to implementation, a reliable, broadband internet connection with static Internet protocol (IP) addresses.

Applicant libraries must choose from a menu of circulation policy rules and cataloging policies.

The reviewers are interested in proposals that:

  • Mutually improve the delivery of library materials and services to library users;
  • Further the process of libraries-helping-libraries and resource sharing;  
  • Increase collegial interaction between participating librarians;
  • Promote collaborative and consortium behavior in general;
  • Further MSL’s goal of developing libraries through networked services; and
  • Support and improve the Montana Shared Catalog consortium.

Proposals will be scored using the above six criteria.

Start-up financing

The State Library Commission has authorized the Montana State Library to set aside federal Library Services & Technology (LSTA) funds, when available, to help libraries cover the vendor startup costs associated with joining the Montana Shared Catalog. Individual libraries are expected to fund the annual MSC membership costs. We accept applications from all library types. The number of libraries accepted is dependent upon the suitability of the applicant, number of applications received, library type and size, support staff limitations, and the amount of LSTA funds available to pay vendor startup costs.