Guys, I think I might be addicted to ILL. What is ILL might you ask, and how on earth did this happen to you? ILL stands for Inter-library loan. Inter-library loan is a service offered by many libraries that allows patrons to get materials from another library. Libraries frequently are in consortiums or have some kind of connection between each other that enable inter-library loan. In some cases, a library system (for example the Boston Public Library) has multiple branches that patrons can use interlibrary loan. What this means is that libraries are able to get their patrons materials that the library itself does not necessarily own. Although the service apparently has been around for years, it has become infinitely better and more efficient thanks to online catalogs and databases. You can think Henriette Avram for this awesome service. (Everyone, read it out loud with me: Thank you, Henriette Avram! You’re awesome!)
I was pretty enamored of ILL before I decided to enter library school. My undergraduate degree is in history, which is another way of saying study of esoteric subject matters. Anyways, my big paper for one of my seminars was on the factors that brought about the end of dueling in England. While my library did have some books on dueling, they did not have nearly enough. Fortunately, there’s this cool database called WorldCat, and I could inter-library loan from there. I got some lovely additional sources that helped me write an awesome paper.
Okay, so I already thought ILL was pretty cool. How did I get addicted?
Because I live in a big city, I use public transportation. Therefore I have a lot of free-reading time; it also means I go through books at a pretty good clip. A lot of my reading material comes from the Boston Public Library, which is a large glorious building filled with interesting books. The Boston Public Library has a lovely, searchable catalog, and, when you get a library card, you are able to get an online catalog. Curious to know what the library had, I typed in “Riget” (a Danish horror series that I have been interested in for a while). Lo and behold–the library had it! All I had to do was click “Put on Hold”, and soon it would be delivered into my clutches. I could feel power rushing into me. So I typed in “The Name of the Star” and got a result. I clicked “put on hold”, knowing that it would soon come to me. I could feel myself becoming more and more drunk on the power. And so, a cycle began…and I haven’t really stopped.
So, now you know about Inter-library loan and its addictive powers. So join the fun–after all, knowledge is power!