Would You Like Us to Check Out of System for You?
July 06, 2010
Library staff still get confused faces every once and while when asking that question of patrons. What does that mean? Answer: Most libraries in the United States (and many throughout the world) participate in the Interlibrary Loan system known as WorldCat. This network allows for libraries to share parts and pieces of their collections, trading within different library systems. For instance, some patrons seek very specific historical books. Most public libraries do not posses copies of these items as they are not in high demand. Academic libraries, on the other hand, do (students often study very specific historical topics). Academic libraries are always willing to help out with the public library.
If we don’t have a book here, we check WorldCat. That system will tell us where one is in the world. We then send a request to the closest library with the item asking if we can borrow it. If that system has that particular item available, they let us borrow it. We then check it out to patrons, often for a shorter checkout period (1 to 2 weeks). These items have a yellow slip wrapped around the book jacket or placed into the plastic sleeve. Because we have to find the item, ask for permission to borrow it, get it sent here, then process it, this whole process can take weeks. So don’t ask for a book or DVD you need next week.
Interlibrary Loan is a great example of workplace cooperation. Instead of turning a patron away for lack of resources, we can simply ask our friendly neighborhood library. Our wealth of information increases but doesn’t harm our budget.
So, now you know…any more questions?Tags: databases, research, online resources, interlibrary loan