Tulsa City—County Library
Tulsa CityCounty Library
Sarah Simpson, Interlibrary Loan/Reserves Supervisor
We wanted to get ILLiad for the simple reason that we had tweaked our workflow as much as we possibly could, and we still weren't able to keep up with the requests. ILLiad offered several benefits: First, it promised to get rid of our paper files and give us one place to look for status information. Second, it increased functionality for our customers—they can do renewals online, see past requests, etc. Third, the book labels would replace book bands AND the manual writing-out of customer name, IL#, due date, etc. on each item. In addition, ILLiad looked like it would really streamline and speed up the lending process.
We were, obviously, a little concerned about the high cost. However, considering the staff time ILLiad will save and the increased functionality for our customers, the Management Team decided it was worth the money (certainly cheaper than more staff!).
We also already had Clio, but were only using it to generate ALA forms. We had terrible problems with speed when we first got the program, and even after it was running normally, we never really got comfortable with the way it worked or felt like it was worth the effort. Plus, we really were interested in replacing book bands with sticky labels (I know there is some controversy there).
Lending transition was relatively easy and painless! What a pleasant surprise. We learned to search our catalog differently, but that didn't really take too long. Searching the catalog and then importing the results really speeds up the process. Our half time lending clerk does not type very well and, prior to ILLiad, if he had over 100 requests on a given day, he might not finish because of the time it took to look them up and write down the call number. With ILLiad, he can process close to 200 items in a single day. We had (still have, really) some problems with the mailing label template, but that has to be our biggest complaint and I think I can fix that myself—if I can just find the time! :) We haven't gotten to the point where our books are coming back yet, but we just have to check them in, run the OCLC update, and peel off the stickers. That will certainly save us the time it took to pull paperwork!
Borrowing transition has, of course, been much more complicated. Some requests are in ILLiad, some are in Innopac, and what about those Direct Requests?! We are looking forward to ending up with everything in one place, but that is just normal transition stuff.
Public library borrowing considerations—getting people registered is a concern. Since many of our ILL customers just turn requests in to librarians, we decided that they would register with their name and library card number instead of creating a username and password. So far, this has worked well. There is some resistance from staff and customers to the need to register, but we explain that registering once will provide all kinds of benefits later—no need to reenter personal information, ability to do renewals online, etc. We did encourage staff to enter names in the same manner each time, whether it's all caps or all lower case or whatever. So far, only a few people have called because they can't get logged in.
Is it worth it?
Definitely! Lending flows very smoothly and we cannot only get rid of paper files, but also of boxes of mailing labels. We will also save a lot of time borrowing. We no longer have to write out book bands, file paperwork, keep track of mailing labels, etc. Once the transition time is over, we will be able to check the status of requests in ILLiad—just one place to look for both customer and request information! When books are returned, we won't have to spend all that time pulling paperwork—and that took a LOT of time. In addition, since ILLiad imports information to the Microenhancer, typographical errors will be reduced—when you enter 100300 updates at a time, typos are fairly common! We do NOT plan on keeping duplicate paper files—we will get rid of all paper as soon as we possibly can.