The Joys of Interlibrary Loan

Yes, joy! For those of us who love books, a library is the perfect place to work. We are surrounded by books on any subject imaginable and they are right there for the borrowing! However, even in the best libraries, it is impossible to own everything. That’s where Interlibrary Loan (ILL) comes in. ILL is a lifeline for faculty, students and staff to obtain books, articles, CDs, DVDs, etc that are not available in their campus or local libraries.

ILL is a cooperative endeavor in that we pool resources with and are able to reach out to virtually any library on the planet to obtain (most of the time) current and obscure materials. That is a beautiful thing! The fact that borrowing/lending is almost always free of charge is an added bonus.

ILL is an incredible tool for patrons. Now that we have amazing search engines and databases, a cursory search can unearth books and articles that may have taken months to uncover in the past. Armed with citations, a patron need only sign into their ILL account and send the request(s) through. Within days and, in some cases, hours, we are usually able to supply our patrons with the requested materials.

“ILL is a lifeline for faculty, students and staff to obtain books, articles, etc that are not available in their campus or local libraries.” There is the extreme satisfaction of helping someone obtain an article that is in just a few lending institutions; the detective-like fun of tracking down an article with limited citation information; providing a student with a passel of books needed to write a term paper or thesis; assisting faculty members with reference materials for books or articles they are writing. We are the conduit for anyone who has a personal interest in a particular subject and wants to read everything and anything they can get their hands on. The icing on the cake for those of us who work in ILL is when a grateful patron thanks us with a plate of delicious homemade cookies or a box of scrumptious chocolates!

ILL Urban Legend:  A man was obsessed with the Civil War and spent hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars on books which caused his wife much consternation as she saw their bank account dwindling. When she learned about the ILL services at her library, she discovered that she was able to get books that her husband wanted to read and it didn’t cost them a dime. Bank account growing. Marriage saved.

-Dorothy Walsh, Interlibrary Loan / Document Delivery Department