Interlibrary Loan Committee
Best Practices to Improve Borrowing Services
Written by the Minitex/MnLINK ILL Committee 2010.
Respondents to borrowing best practices focused on communication with the end user. One best
practice that was frequently stated is to make sure the end-user knows when the ILL item is
due back. Part of communication with end users is managing end-user expectations. End-users
should be aware that searching in local catalogs or citation databases may be faster than
requesting all of their items through interlibrary loan. End-users should also be made aware
of their responsibility to allow enough time for ILL processing and to be aware of when their
ILL items should be returned. Also end-users should be aware that journal requests may be
delivered as a paper copy or electronically delivered.
Communication with End-Users
Respondents to this question focused on communication with the end-user about their requests.
Stressing to users the importance of allowing enough time, remembering to pick up the
requested items, and returning on time.
- It should be clear to the end-user when the item is due back.
- Items given to an end-user should be tracked.
- Explain to the end-user if the item can be renewed and how to request a renewal.
Educating end-user about the proper use of interlibrary loan. It may be
that an item can be obtained though a request or holds in the local or regional catalog
more quickly than by interlibrary loan. End-users may need to learn how to search citation
database for full-text articles on their subject.
Best Practices for Workflow Improvements
A number of respondents suggested that the due date be in larger font and
perhaps red to help the end-user understand when the item is due.
All non-print items be checked before giving the item to the patron and
checked again after the end-user has returned the item.
Tracking of interlibrary loan requests in ILS software or by a spreadsheet
so overdue notices and bills can be sent when the ILL item is not returned promptly.
- Checking on the status of an ILL request at the lending library.
Processing the item as soon as it is delivered to the borrowing library.
Delivering items to the end-user as soon as they arrive – do not wait for the patron
to pick up the item.
Some respondents expressed concern over the amount of papers and suggested using a bookband
slip or removable sticker. Paperwork was important to help in the processing
of a request.
- Citation should be checked for completeness before sending the request to the lending library.
NCIP could improve request processing for libraries using VDX. See
NCIP Standard to learn more about NCIP.
Rev Dec 2010
University of Minnesota
Wilson Library, Room 60
309 19th Avenue South
Minneapolis, MN 55455