By Kevin May
The Harold B. Lee Library’s interlibrary loan program recently filled its 500,000th request, highlighting its success and utility.
With about 9 million volumes in stock, the HBLL contains a massive amount of information. However, it is not all-inclusive and students and faculty sometimes find it necessary to access materials that are not in the collection.
“The number that we got is from the software we’ve been using, and it’s been in use since 2001,” said Caitlin Hafen, interlibrary loan borrowing supervisor. “We order from libraries all over the country, and even all over the world. We can get almost everything that people request.”
Faculty are aware of the far reaching capabilities of the interlibrary loan program.
“The library’s loan service has been consistently helpful and effective in finding items that are often only available in a small handful of libraries in the United States,” said Kristian Heal, director of the Center for the Preservation of Ancient Religious Texts. “Frequently the staff has gone the extra mile to find an item, clarifying details or finding alternatives.”
Many professors, like Heal, use the program quite often.
“The Lee Library has surprisingly good holdings in my field, but I have almost weekly needs for items not in our own collection,” Heal said.
Professors have found the interlibrary loan saves them the time of seeking out and contacting other libraries and requesting to borrow their materials.
“I cannot say enough good about the service,” said Mary Jane Woodger, a professor of Church history and doctrine. “I would not be as successful as a professor without this great service. The time it has saved me in hunting down books, articles and other materials has been so helpful. Interlibrary loan has saved me thousands of hours.”
Hafen emphasized although the number of requests is high, there is little awareness of the program among students.
“A lot of people don’t know that we exist,” Hafen said. “If they’re not sure if our library has something or not, all they need to do is put in a request and we’ll find out.”
Hafen noted the most requested medium is articles, and requests for articles are frequently filled within the day.