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Interlibrary Loan (was Book Covers)

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  • Marc Carlson
    ... First, I agree with Sharon - use your Interlibrary Loan service at your local library. It s a good thing. However, I need to stress this -- different
    Message 1 of 1 , Nov 8, 2001
      >From: Sharon Smith Hurlburt <medhbh@...>
      >Can they do inter-library loan? That's where they can get the book from
      >other libraries that do have it. Sometimes you have to pay a small
      >shipping fee, but that's about it.

      First, I agree with Sharon - use your Interlibrary Loan service at
      your local library. It's a good thing.

      However, I need to stress this -- different places will do things
      differently. For example, our interlibrary loan department (and I'm
      speaking as someone who gets paid to do this) doesn't charge its patrons
      anything, ever. That's not to say that it doesn't cost anything to do it
      though. Some libraries don't charge to loan their materials, some charge a
      LOT. We eat these costs, but that's because we are an academic institution
      and have budgeted to do that because it is perceived that the students have
      already paid enough in tuition to make it worth our while to not pass along
      further charges.

      Other libraries can't always do that. Public libraries in particular are
      more likely to charge fees -- although sometimes it's a nominal fee that's
      intended more to make the patrons stop and think before submitting a request
      (i.e. "how badly do you really want this") than it is to actually defray the
      cost of the item.

      Our local public library doesn't charge more than a few dollars, if that,
      for each request. OTOH, they will turn down all requests for journal
      articles out of hand. This is because of the cost of copyright and paying
      royalties on articles (frequently not much, sometimes a LOT, and always a
      pain in the rear).

      If you don't get a request filled, it can be for any number of reasons
      ranging from the occasional "the ILL staff is
      lazy/untrained/incompetant/pissed off at you" to the MUCH more frequent no
      one wanted, or was willing to loan the item (for the record, libraries
      aren't obligated to loan anything to anyone). Ask (nicely). Get to know
      your ILL staff. They are people and can sometimes make mistakes, but more
      often they will often bend over backwards for people who are more than just
      faceless names on paper.
      In my case, I wound up doing so much ILL for my research that it's just
      easier to do the job (if nothing else, it's easier to empathize with the
      faculty members who are upset and confused that a reasonable looking journal
      article from 1983 isn't getting sent because the only place that holds it is
      in the Virgin Islands, and they just don't loan or copy anything).

      Anyway -- get to know them and the process. You will have a far less
      frustrating time of it than those people who just fling requests into box,
      and are get a cancellation notice with no reason given.

      (BTW, if anyone has specific questions about the ILL process, I will be
      happy to try to answer them).


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