We’ve all been there: You cannot find what you’re looking for among the 1.5 million items in the WCCLS catalog. Rather than get disappointed or (gasp!) head to Amazon, try submitting a request for an interlibrary loan.
ILL is a free service that helps fill the gaps in our collection, allowing you to check out books and other materials from a library outside of Washington County. Think of it as the library’s library. By tapping into ILL, you can borrow out-of-print books, obscure CDs, hard-to-find DVDs and more. Almost all media formats are available through ILL except console video games and downloadable audiobooks.
“I try to exhaust every avenue that I possibly can before I say we can’t get something,” says Cassie Franks, Senior Library Assistant, who oversees interlibrary loan and document delivery. “I’m very tenacious.”
But wait, there’s more. Let’s talk about document delivery, ILL’s lesser-known cousin.
Document delivery is great if you’re looking for a portion of a body of work. For instance, maybe you need a journal article, a recipe from a cookbook or all references of a surname for genealogy research. Fulfilled requests typically get sent to your inbox as a PDF (that does not need to be returned).
“Anytime we can request a copy to be delivered by email, it gets filled so much faster,” says Franks.
When submitting a request, be as specific as possible. Sometimes we can’t borrow the book but we can get our hands on a copy of the chapter you need.
“Patrons seem to think it would be more work to photocopy and it would be easier to borrow the book,” says Franks. “But we would much rather photocopy than pay a fee for shipping a whole book.”
Cassie Franks has been bringing her passion for interlibrary loans to WCCLS since 2002. She makes unbelievable Jell-O creations and was a founding member of our WCCLS Olympic curling team.