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More than Caring: Interlibrary Loans Become a Necessity During the Pandemic

January 12, 2021

Image by John Hain from Pixabay

Written by Joan Boersma, Library Services

One of Joan Boersma’s many roles in the Library includes the handling of ILLs (InterLibrary Loans). Here, she provides an overview of this important service.

One service that the Library offers is that of Interlibrary Loan. While our subscriptions to databases have increased considerably during the last 5 years, we obviously don’t have access to every article written. RRC library belongs to 2 consortiums in order to fill this gap. The first group is that of the libraries in Manitoba where physical and digital items are shared at no cost. We receive most of our requests from the University of Manitoba and the University of Winnipeg for which we are very grateful.

The 2nd consortium is DOCLINE and that is the National Library of Medicine’s Interlibrary Loan request routing system. The purpose of the system is to improve access to biomedical literature for medical libraries in the US and Canada. It has been interesting to see this willing group of medical libraries share resources during a pandemic while many libraries were actually closed and staff were working remotely without access to their physical collections. Often times the information requested was crucial to the treatment of patients in the hospital and it has been an eye-opening experience to see librarians hard at work to fill this need in a time-sensitive manner. Co-operation and resource sharing between libraries took on a new role, operated sometimes in non-traditional means, and occasionally RRC was able to contribute as well. It has been a great experience to be part of this larger community while working from my dining room table. During the pandemic, there have been requests for 215 articles from our faculty and students, and 75 of those were filled by our partner libraries. Other requests were located by deep-diving, sleuthing, and sometimes by contacting the authors to simply ask if they were willing to share their work. The sharing community of libraries (and sometimes authors) is alive and well during the pandemic.

If you have something you are looking for you can make a request by using our ILL Request Form or contact me at jboersma@rrc.ca.

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