Interlibrary loans

31May08

I feel like a detective at work as I carry out my interlibrary loan responsibilities. If a user requests a journal or book that is not in our library, I request it from another library. That is the definition of interlibrary loans. I have local library contacts, who work in the same office building and then our company saves on courier costs and delivery of materials is very timely. I also have a wider circle of contacts in the downtown core. That involves phone calls or broadcast e-mails and more patience. Sometimes I am looking for an old government report and it is readily available. I also have a union list for journals for the local library association. Then I can narrow down who has the item and what their holdings are.

But then sometimes you just need friends, who are in the profession. I knew that an obscure journal was only held at the university, and we rarely get same day service from them. At professional firms a journal or book request is fulfilled in hours if not instantly. Academic libraries work on a different schedule.

But my friend “Edna” at Big City Firm on the 54th floor has access to Hein Online. I think of Hein as largely US based but strong legal content.

I asked Edna, if she had time to download one article for me. Normally our library would have to pay about $25 for university interlibrary loan transaction. But I was able to get it for free. Now I usually would not ask Edna, but she is my friend and the user is a nice guy. My user walked away happy, and hopefully my resourcefulness means I have earned a repeat customer.

— Brenda

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