Seaside Public Library
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"I just do what I do. It doesn't seem that special. But if it helps some other library, that's great."
Circulation Assistant, Seaside Public Library
The small vacationer town of Seaside, Oregon, may not be the first place most people would think to check for hard-to-find library resources. But Seaside Public Library has an impressive interlibrary loan (ILL) program using WorldShare® Interlibrary Loan. The library averages a 68% fill rate and a 20-hour turnaround time. By comparison, most public libraries average a 25% or 30% fill rate and a 3-day turnaround time, according to OCLC data.
Circulation Assistant Connie Word is the only staff member who handles interlibrary loan at this small library, and it's not the only role she fills. "I'm responsible for the interlibrary loans as well as over-dues," she said, "and, of course, working the front desk a couple hours a day." Connie’s secret? She just finds the job fun. "Patrons don't always get things right" in their requests, Connie said. "They get the title wrong or the author wrong, so it's sort of a little detective job. That's kind of fun." She's also pleased when she's able to fulfill requests from other libraries with items from Seaside's collection.
"You're making people happy, so it's a fun job to do."
Connie uses WorldShare ILL so often that it's integral to the way she works. "It does what it does, and it does a good job of it," she said. "I just come in the morning, and I open up the website to see if there's any requests and just go at it from there." Seaside has a special collection of jazz CDs, which Connie lends out so often that she's on a first-name basis with some of the other librarians who request them, such as those in Loudoun County, Virginia; Bellingham, Washington; Buffalo, New York; and St. Louis, Missouri. "We try to keep in touch with libraries and keep the good vibes going," she said.
Connie follows a few specific practices that help her process requests more efficiently. For example, most of Seaside's patrons request ILL through a paper form in the library rather than through the website. Connie tracks these forms in expandable folders—pending, received, and returned—with a printed version of the WorldShare ILL request. She also keeps track of which book in a series a patron has requested and proactively requests the next one so that it arrives around the time they finish the previous one. Additionally, she reuses boxes from DVDs and other materials to save money.
Interlibrary loan offers Seaside patrons access to resources that the library doesn't have room for, like special art books and older monographs, at no charge. "I don't think the patrons really understand the costs that are involved or the time. They just want what they want," Connie said. But the work is fun, and she knows that both Seaside's patrons and other libraries appreciate the effort. "A lot of people realize that it's a pretty special service, and they express that," she said.
- Supports a community of about 6,000 residents as well as vacationers with an average of four community programs per week
- Averages nearly 38 visits each year per library card holder
- Collection includes more than 50,000 items, 23% of which are DVDs
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