In the late 1970s, the State of Michigan was experiencing an economic downturn and both the State of Michigan and the University of Michigan had a goal to help Michigan businesses. The Library established MITS in 1980 to meet the needs and demands of the business and industry community of Ann Arbor and the State of Michigan. MITS, as a part of the University Library, can make the resources of the Library more easily and more cost effectively available to businesses than an outside company would be able to.
MITS was also created in response to frequent requests over a four-year period from the business community for services such as document delivery and literature searches. The demand reached a level that strained the resources of the University Library.
Rather than refuse service to the business community, MITS was established on a cost-recovery basis. Similar services had been successful at institutions such as the University of Minnesota and Georgia Technological Institute. The University of Michigan was making an effort to foster cooperation with the business/industry community in areas such as research and information. MITS supports this cooperative goal and allows the Library to provide an obviously needed service without disadvantaging our primary users. Thus, MITS fee-for-service activity is related to the Library's mission even though MITS' scope is different. MITS continues to evolve with the times, providing critical information services with its historical mission in place.
MITS has provided support for businesses through document delivery, coordinating the payment of royalty fees, and research services (1980-2000). MITS always respects electronic content licenses and works to develop complementary licensing models.
In 2012 Michigan Corporate Relations Network (MCRN) and MITS teamed up to provide standard articles or book loans to eligible Michigan small businesses for one low standard fee per request. Any costs beyond this nominal fee, including royalties and shipping, are covered for registered participants. The funding comes from the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) and the Michigan Strategic Fund (MSF), which awarded a $1.8 million grant to a collaboration of six public universities for the creation a statewide network to support Michigan small businesses.