When a happy patron brings your whole department a surprise pasta lunch, you know you're doing something right.
Diana Parker, Interlibrary Loan Coordinator at the Stow - Munroe Falls Public Library in northeastern Ohio, puts that into perspective by sharing that her library fulfills more than 4,400 interlibrary loan (ILL) requests that come in every year. "It's not just books," she told us. "In the case of the patron who brought us lunch, we'd been able to borrow some very specific movies for him on DVD. Resource sharing through WorldShare® ILL is fabulous that way, and we're delighted to offer it to our users."
The most important benefit of the service, according to Diana, is access to the materials of more than 10,000 libraries in the OCLC resource sharing network. "We're able to fill more than 90% of our ILL requests," she said, "and OCLC is, by far, our largest single contributor for interlibrary loan fulfillment."
The service is easy to use, too, she said, and has contributed to some significant time savings for staff. "Being able to define strings of 15 lenders lets us really focus on requesting from local libraries when possible. That means faster fulfillment. And the fact that as soon as you open a lending request it automatically changes status to 'considering' means that we don't do anywhere near as much back-and-forth 'triaging' of requests to make sure someone is on it."
Diana also pointed out that, in many cases, tasks that used to require multiple text inputs can now be done with a simple "click-and-pick," as she calls it. "For both lending and borrowing items, batch processing can handle a lot of routine tasks, and we just have to click on list items to move things along."
One last point Diana made holds true for all OCLC services: the commitment of other members of the cooperative to the success of every participating library. "While we were making our transition to WorldShare ILL, the OCLC listserv was very helpful. We were able to get help from fellow librarians and, when we could, help them too."