Patron-Focused Services in three US libraries: Collaborative Interlibrary Loan, Collection Development and Acquisitions

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Interlending & Document Supply, 31(2), 138-141, 2003



To improve service and increase user satisfaction, some libraries are exploring new models of collaboration among the Interlibrary Loan, Collection Development and Acquisitions departments. One public library and two university libraries present models in which funds were set aside to purchase materials requested by library users through interlibrary loan. The models differ in some details but in all cases Interlibrary Loan staff select the titles to be purchased and Acquisitions staff rush order the requested titles. Titles are then either rush processed in Technical Services and circulated to the user, or are received un-processed in Interlibrary Loan for immediate patron use and are cataloged later. All three models have been in operation for two years or more and have moved from the pilot project stage to permanent implementation.

Data are presented on the effectiveness of these models, including turnaround time, average cost per title, user satisfaction, and subsequent circulation of titles. These models accomplish several major goals including: obtaining users’ requested items quickly; building collections by adding titles with user interest and which have a high potential for subsequent use; and demonstrating that the rush acquisitions processes are both efficient and cost-effective.