Interlibrary Loan Blog

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Refreshing Rhode Island

We thought we’d use this week’s blog post to remind everyone that the interstate Delivery program with Rhode Island is still going strong. It’s been over a year now (goodness, time goes fast!), and our member libraries have borrowed hundreds of items from participating Rhode Island institutions, both public and academic. From Dr. Kildare to The art of jewelry making, Newport mansions to Lost in Woonsocket, we’re grateful for all the resources that came through Delivery from the Ocean State.

Mass libraries have been very generous, too, lending hundreds of books, films, audiobooks and CDs to our neighbor. Discovering your soul signature, The trouble with Texas cowboys, Fang the bat fiend, The snacking dead, Muppets on wheels, How to be a wildflower, and Old dogs, new math – these are just some of the gems Rhode Island libraries found in our holdings.

A quick reminder: you can visit the Rhode Island catalog to take a peek at the plethora of resources now open to our members. And the Rhode Island Delivery Index is a good resource for those three-letter codes that Optima uses on the RI slips. Thank you all for making this new program such a success. Please let us know if you have any questions, and let’s hope the interstate Delivery program will one day be extended to even more states!

Reading as a Community – Book Club ILL

Does your library have a book club? Do you often need to request multiple copies of one resource? OCLC’s WorldShare has recently made it easier for our ILL team to submit such requests (there’s an interesting ALA webinar on the subject here). You only need to send us one request through Clio, specifying in the Notes how many copies you need, and we can do the rest.

Just a few caveats: we probably won’t be able to borrow many copies of very popular or recent books. If you need different formats (audiobook, large print) of the same title, please submit separate requests for each format. And please request book club items well ahead of the club meeting date, as it can take a few tries before we can obtain all the needed copies!

Some recent book club titles we’ve requested include: “The nightingale,” by Kristin Hannah (4 copies); “The hairdresser of Harare,” by Tendai Huchu (7 copies); “Bones and silence,” by Reginald Hill (7 copies); “After you, Marco Polo,” by Jean Bowie Shor (12 copies); and “Immortality,” by Alan Feldman (9 copies).

Please let us know if you have any questions about interlibrary loan requests for your local book clubs. And thanks for reading!

Unfamiliar Faces, Familiar Names – the ILL Regulars

We love helping patrons, but, oddly, we never get to meet them. However, there are so many regular customers whose names have become familiar to us at MLS over the years. This blog post seeks to pay tribute to the faithful who keep coming back. We can’t mention any names, of course, but thought it might be interesting to list a few of their favorites.

There’s the movie buff in Western Mass, who unearths such gems as “Murder in the fleet,” and “I found Stella Parrish.”

And the patron who requests tons of books about cats: “Calico’s country cats,” “Psycho kitties,” “Wisdom of kittens,” and “My cat’s not fat, he’s just big-boned,” to list just a few!

We have one steady customer who seems to be working through every classical CD ever released: string quartets, violin concertos, piano quintets, symphonies, capriccios, sonatas – you name it, this patron has heard it!

And we have to smile every time we get a request from the fitness enthusiast who clamors for such items as “Gray hair and black iron : secrets of successful strength training for older lifters,” “Dinosaur training : lost secrets of strength and development,” and “Power : explosive training for athletic domination.”

One south coast regular is avid for audiobooks, whether on CD or audiocassette. He sometimes stumps us, but we try hard to find such titles as “Brat Farrar,” “A coffin for Dimitrios,” “Rough cider,” and “Journey into fear.”

We’re grateful for patrons such as these, as well as many others we could name. We look forward to seeing their names pop up in the patron field, and muse about their personalities and lives. And we feel just a touch of envy that ILL staff in our member libraries get to meet them in person.

The Mystery of…Clio and the Hidden Flap

Calling all detective story aficionados! Do you remember those tales that center on a hidden drawer, stuffed with love letters just ripe for blackmailing? Or the secret panel, containing arsenic or other incriminating matter?

Ngaio Marsh’s Death in a white tie features a hidden drawer, and there’s a cunningly concealed panel in Strong poison, by Dorothy L. Sayers. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle also gives us a secret compartment in A scandal in Bohemia, and there’s a hidden nook in Agatha Christie’s Peril at End House. The list goes on…but did you know that our own Clio-in-the-Cloud also boasts a hidden flap?

Fortunately you don’t need to be Roderick Alleyn, Lord Peter Wimsey, Sherlock Holmes or Hercule Poirot to find the Hidden Flap. If you’re in a record in Clio, simply click either anywhere in the gray area in the top panel, or on the little plus sign (labeled “More…” on the right-hand side). And, presto, the hidden flap is revealed!

This area of Clio is quite interesting, and can provide the canny interlibrary loan person with a lot of clues about a request. Here we can find who is lending an item, when they shipped it, and when it is due back. Often you can also discover the lender’s address, whether you incurred any fees during the loan, and if there are any lending restrictions (such as no renewals allowed).

To slide the hidden flap closed, simply click again on the gray area, or on the “Hide…” sign on the right, once again keeping Clio’s secrets safe…

Either too young or too old…

Fans of old movies might remember the all-star extravaganza from 1943 – “Thank Your Lucky Stars,” in which a stable of Warner Bros. favorites perform unlikely skits to support the war effort. Bette Davis launches into a husky version of “They’re Either Too Young or Too Old,” lamenting the fact that all the men still at home are simply “too gray or too grassy green.”

Bette’s point, although dated, might also provide a useful reminder for interlibrary loan items. It’s good to remember that you’ll have a hard time borrowing items that are too young (usually published within the last year), or too old (in general, over 100 years old).

But, despair not! As many of you probably know, there is another resource to which we can turn for items hailing from before 1923. This is the HathiTrust Digital Library, pronounced “haught-tee” (really! listen to the pronunciation guide). For more information, especially about open access and copyright nuances, please visit their access page, and take a peek at their Advanced Search Options.

Our team is always willing to try and borrow whatever your patrons need, however young or old, but we just wanted to slip in this small reminder that some resources are slightly more elusive. Thanks to programs such as the HathiTrust, however, we have more options than ever before.

Want to hear the inimitable Bette? Tune in here!


Borrowing from the National Library of Medicine

We hope this blog will give us an exciting opportunity to showcase some of our more unusual lenders. The National Library of Medicine (NLM), located in Bethesda, Maryland, is a wonderful “library of last resort” for all kinds of medical materials, including audiovisual resources.

Although NLM items can’t be requested the usual way, through WorldShare, we can send them a form with all the information they need, and NLM is surprisingly quick to respond. Each request costs only $9.00 – a bargain when you think about the wealth of materials available. And the loan period is a generous 60 days (no renewals).

Visit NLM’s Digital Image Collection to see some fascinating pictures. NLM will copy many of these images if you need them. There is also a guide to other image collections on the NLM site.

You can find NLM holdings in WorldCat, but take a peek at their catalog, too.

Interested in some of the titles we’ve borrowed from the National Library of Medicine? There’s “Seven essential of health,” by Philip Welsh, “How to be a successful independent medical examiner,” by Christopher Brigham, “Handbook of integrative dermatology,” by Peter Lio, and “Psychiatric neurotherapeutics,” by Joan Camprodon, et al.

Those of us who work in interlibrary loan can provide important resources to promote health literacy and medical education. Please take advantage of all that the National Library of Medicine and other institutions can offer.



Comment from Nick Molinari, School Librarian, Milford High School

Perfect timing. I have a class researching diseases next week, so this is an excellent additional resource for them to use!