Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Ball State University Libraries’ Interlibrary Loan Services: Helping Others around the Country and World

Ball State University Libraries’ Interlibrary Loan Services reputation for quality service helps place it as the second highest academic lender of materials in Indiana, just behind Indiana University-Bloomington with respect to the number of items loaned to other libraries.

“We have loaned materials to people from Canada, Denmark, France, Japan, Lebanon, and Norway, to mention a few countries,” said Elaine S. Nelson, Interlibrary Loan Supervisor. “Over the past fiscal year, we have experienced an increase of about 1.8% in the number of borrowing requests from other libraries. For the same period, our borrowing from other libraries has increased by 15.6%.”

The installation of a Direct Request feature in February 2006 allows the automatic submission of a student or faculty member’s request to the libraries once certain criteria are met. This is a “transparent feature” so that when a person submits a request, it automatically forwards to a library that owns the item.

This means that Interlibrary Loan staff do not handle the request until the item physically arrives at the University Libraries, thereby reducing the time the requestor has to wait by about 1.8 days. ILLiad has proven to be an essential technology in helping our staff to service an increasing number of requests.

The unit receives many types of thank you letters, mostly by e-mail, in which people share their appreciation for Interlibrary Loan Services.

One customer wrote, “This is my first time to deal with Ball State, having heard David Letterman crow about it for years. It’s been wonderful doing business with you!”

Interlibrary Loan Services has supplied six articles to the Executive Office of the President of the United States over the past few years. The unit also finds materials for Ball State students and faculty. For example, a student recently needed a book for his research that unit personnel found and borrowed from a library in South Africa.

Through Interlibrary Loan Services, students and faculty may
- Obtain books, articles, videos, software, and music from other libraries
- Obtain materials listed as “Checked Out” in our online public catalog
- Obtain most requested materials in less than 10 days
- Access requested articles may have articles delivered online.

For more information, contact Elaine S. Nelson, the University Libraries’ Interlibrary Loan Supervisor, ENelson@bsu.edu, 765-285-1323.

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