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Kutztown University

Optimize interlibrary loan services with new technology

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"Once you understand the flow of Tipasa, it is not difficult at all. I felt really confident that it was something that I could use and something that I could teach my students to use as well."

Karen Colburn, ILL & Periodicals Technician

Last year, the staff at Kutztown University’s Rohrbach Library began to notice that they were running into many database errors and experiencing a lack of efficiency in their interlibrary loan (ILL) process. Karen Colburn, ILL and Periodicals Technician at the library, said, “If we're having these problems now, it seems like a pretty good opportunity to start thinking about the future.” To improve efficiency, they made a smooth transition to Tipasa®, a cloud-based interlibrary loan management system. “I was really, really happy with OCLC, with the implementation team in particular, because they were always there. I could just email implementation, and someone would email me back very quickly,” Karen said.

Kutztown University offers a wide range of academic programs, and Karen mentioned, “We like to open dialogues. We like to engage with other people. Interlibrary loan is no different. I make a point to get to know my patrons.” She said the library’s users range from “people who are looking for the absolute most obscure items to folks who didn't realize that it's something we owned.” The library’s ILL processes are so smooth now that often patrons don’t know if the item they have requested was obtained from elsewhere. “Nor do they need to. Our process is seamless, and they've been very appreciative of that,” she added.

"I can work on it at the [circulation] desk. I can work on it anywhere. I can work on it at home if I choose."

Both library staff and student workers have enjoyed learning the new Tipasa system, including its integration with RapidILL, another resource sharing system that supports automatic processing, routing, and load leveling. Thanks to the Rapid integration, Karen and her team can use Tipasa to process any requests, including article or book chapter requests coming from their Rapid pod. Karen noted, “Our Rapid testing has been almost seamless. My students enjoy it. They kind of race each other to get to it. I enjoy that it is very much like what I am used to. It’s almost a seamless workflow.”

Since Tipasa is web based, it can be accessed easily outside of the library and updates happen automatically, neither of which were possible on the library's previous system. “I don't have to schedule outages in advance. I don't have to worry about machines slowing down. It happened a lot [before].” She continued, “I enjoy the web-based interface because I feel like I don't have so much to try and troubleshoot now. I have no regrets.”

Map showing location of Kutztown University

Library at a glance

  • Holds more than 332,000 print volumes and 612,000 electronic volumes, including e-books and periodical subscriptions
  • Provides access to 149 databases with hundreds of thousands of scholarly articles, e-books, reports, and images as well as more than one million microforms
  • Offers students broad access to technology through the Information Commons, five computer labs, and other technology around the building
  • Supports students enrolled in online and distance learning courses

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