Eastern Kentucky University

Achieve incredibly fast borrowing turnaround times

John Grant Crabbe Main Library, Eastern Kentucky University
John Grant Crabbe Main Library

Eastern Kentucky University logo

"We save so much time by leveraging our custom holdings paths and allowing the automation to review which libraries hold items."

Ashley Cole
Associate Director of Collection Strategies, Eastern Kentucky University Libraries

Eastern Kentucky University (EKU) Libraries have achieved some of the fastest borrowing times among members of OCLC’s Express digital delivery program. In a six-month period, EKU Libraries' two full-time ILL staff members and two part-time student employees had about 1,500 copy requests filled by Express libraries: 30% in one hour or less, 40% in two hours or less, and 10 requests were filled in two minutes or less.

Configure interlibrary loan workflows for maximum efficiency

Ashley Cole, Associate Director of Collection Strategies, shared how they managed to have such incredible borrowing turnaround times. "During our migration to Tipasa® in early 2021, I worked closely with our systems administrator to configure the service in a way that was most efficient for our needs using OCLC recorded training sessions for ILL."

"Take advantage of webinars like OCLC's ILL workshop series, which helped us be successful from the start."

Using that information, she started by creating custom holding groups and holding paths that identified their ‘best' lenders—those who provided materials fast and free. "Now we have custom holdings paths for our best copy libraries, our best loan libraries, and libraries that will share audio/visual materials for free," she said. She also turned on their WorldCat knowledge base integration for interlibrary loan (ILL) and worked to ensure their holdings were accurate.

Resource sharing automation speeds up delivery time

Ashley explained her next steps, "To leverage the power of those custom holdings groups and paths, I set up several borrowing automations using the automated request manager." For copy requests, she added an automation so Tipasa first checks to see if EKU Libraries own the item locally. If so, the request is routed to document delivery. If not, the request is routed to their best copy lenders to automatically generate a lending string, which includes Express libraries.

"One more step that helps to speed up our borrowing fulfillment is setting up a group of ‘proven senders,' which are libraries that we have found provide quality documents," shared Ashley. By using that designation in combination with Article Exchange, EKU Libraries automatically receive items in Tipasa and immediately deliver them to users.

"Take advantage of webinars like OCLC's workshop series, which helped us be successful from the start. Also, staff should participate in the OCLC Community Center and the ILL listservs so if you're not sure of a best workflow, you can check with other libraries."

Services used by Eastern Kentucky University


WorldShare Management Services

WorldCat Discovery



  • Richmond, Kentucky, USA

Library at a glance

  • A public university founded in 1874
  • 14,000+ students
  • 40+ library staff
  • 40% of students are first-generation

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