The agreement, which officials said will cost the schools "nothing or next to nothing," nearly doubles the number of universities participating in the Google Books Library Project, the consortium and the University of Minnesota said.
The consortium, known as the Committee on Institutional Cooperation -- comprising the 11 Big Ten universities and the University of Chicago -- join "the ranks of institutions like Harvard University, Stanford University and Oxford University, which already are participating in the Google Book Search project," University of Minnesota Provost Thomas Sullivan said.
"For our students and researchers, speedy access to printed volumes will change the face and pace of scholarly research," he said.
Internet users will be able to use keywords to search and download full book texts.
The consortium's contract with Google runs six years, with an option to renew, the University of Minnesota said.
The cost of digitizing books is about $60 a volume. Google is to fund the digitization of some 10 million books.