The Wonders of the WorldCat
January 28, 2013
Having entered semi-retirement recently, I’ve been spending some of my spare time working for Mid-Continent Public Library. Being surrounded by books on a regular basis has given me the opportunity reread books I enjoyed as a child. One of the books of that I have fond memories is titled Jexium Island by the French author Madeleine Grattan. I checked MCPL's catalog to see if any of the thirty MCPL branches had a copy of the book. Unfortunately, this book was published back in 1957, and none of them had a copy.
My next stop was to see if the book was available through an interlibrary loan from a library outside the MCPL system. I used WorldCat to access the huge, wonderful online catalog. After entering the author of the book in the catalog search form, I was pleasantly surprised to find that there were 46 copies of the book available from libraries around the world. I clicked on the "borrow this item from another library" link, filled out the request form, and submitted my request to the Interlibrary Loan Department. I asked that the book be delivered to my local MCPL branch. A few weeks later, I received an email saying the book was available for pickup. The book was loaned to MCPL by Wells College in Aurora, New York. When I opened the book, I got a surprise. Library books usually don’t have inscriptions inside, but this one did. Opposite the title page was a hand-written entry stating "Madeleine Mauriac Grattan was a member of the Department of Romance Languages at Wells College, from September 1948 to June, 1951." As I read the book, I couldn’t help but to think that this book had been donated to Wells College by the author, and the very book I was reading had been handled by her.
You never know what wonders might turn up when you search the World.