The resource sharing gene: still going strong after 40 years!

Tony Melvyn

40th-ill-anniversary

I have worked in OCLC Resource Sharing for more than 33 years and I think that librarians are born with a ‘togetherness’ gene. Sharing is one of our profession’s bedrock values—sharing work, sharing collections, sharing knowledge. Nowhere is this value practiced more diligently than with interlibrary loan. We build our collections and share our materials with a commitment to serve our users—who we consider to be anyone, anywhere in the world!

It stands to reason, then, that resource sharing is one of the most popular topics on our Next blog. As we celebrate the 40th anniversary of OCLC ILL this year, I invite you to enjoy three of our most-read resource sharing posts again.

How OCLC transformed a library … and one student’s life

By George Bishop, District Media Specialist at Ovid-Elsie Area Schools, Retired

kayakAt the beginning of the 1992–1993 school year, I issued a challenge to teachers, students, administrators, and community members around the Ovid-Elsie Area Schools in Michigan. Our small, rural library, which supported two elementary schools, a middle school, and a high school, had recently joined OCLC and for the first time had access to libraries worldwide through WorldCat. Even though our materials budget was tiny, I stood up in the first district staff meeting of the year and promised them all I would get any book that anyone needed for any reason. The teachers whispered and even snickered. Our library had never been very relevant to them. We weren’t included in their lesson plans, and they rarely sent students to find resources. After a couple weeks, I got my first request: a 17-book bibliography. And that changed everything. Read more …

Three cures for the “Humdrum ILL Blues”

By Robyn Clark-Bridges, MLIS, Reference and Interlibrary Loan Librarian, Mount Mercy University

blues_sliceA few years ago, two colleagues and I co-led the popular workshop “Keep the ILL Motivational Fires Burning!” at the Midwest ILL Conference. The point was to openly acknowledge that—like many jobs—resource sharing librarianship can become routine and draining. We tried to answer the question: how can you do a job with many necessary, detailed, repetitious job functions while still maintaining energy, enthusiasm, and drive? While everyone’s answer is going to be slightly different, I think we uncovered a few ways that might help you maintain your LOVE for a job that many of us got into in the first place because of a passion for helping library users. Read more …

Tales from the international ILL world

By Stacy Brunner, OCLC Product Analyst, Resource Sharing

crustyBack in 1988, one of my OCLC colleagues worked at The Ohio State University Law Library as a work-study student. Recently, he told me a story about going deep into the basement to the compact storage units to retrieve an 1870s law book to photocopy some Ohio municipal codes for a library in Japan. He mailed the document to the library the next day using the US Postal Service. Today, 30 years later, the world of international interlibrary loan is alive and well but with fewer trips to the ‘dungeon’ and the post office, thanks to digitization, electronic publications, and advances in scanning technology. These advances, along with the web and the emerging global library data network, are making international borrowing and lending easier and more commonplace. But it’s the stories behind these international transactions that make them memorable, inspiring, and fun. Read more …

What’s next for resource sharing?

At the OCLC Resource Sharing Conference this year, we introduced “the library on-demand,” our user-first strategy that will take us into the future. The library on-demand positions the library community across the entire information services environment to move even further into resource sharing. It is a powerful strategy that builds on the great things libraries have been doing for 40 years to deliver exceptional service. Together, we will continue to show the value of resource sharing to anyone in the world.