When Access Starts with Interlibrary Loan/Document Delivery
Harper, James B.
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Interlibrary loan has evolved. We used to be a supplement to our collection – obtaining items too esoteric, odd, or granular to be considered for collection. Our service was slow, labor intensive and typically only available to faculty and graduate students. NOW interlibrary loan is a serious, viable alternative to certain acquisitions as the sheer volume and cost of items worth acquiring out-paces our ability to collect them. Moreover, interlibrary loan has expanded to include document delivery type services such as support for distance education or access to items in far flung branches or storage facilities. Budget and space shortages plus the growth of distance learning have precipitated a shift in the way libraries collect and provide access to resources. Interlibrary loan and document delivery are at the forefront of this shift. We are a vital public service and our challenge is to minimize the effect of money, space and distance on our patrons. I will discuss some of the ways we can do this and how some of these are already being implemented at NCSU. Ideas such as purchase on demand, request functionality at the point of discovery, unmediated borrowing, and delivery direct from lender to patron. I’ll also look to the future as NCSU plans a new library facility with a 2 million volume automated retrieval system.