Rethinking Resource Sharing (NWILL 2008)

September 23, 2008

The North Western Interlibrary Loan and Resource Sharing Conference at the Portland Community College–Sylvania campus this year had about 200 people; I was pleasantly surprised how big it was. I heard a lot of techniques and ideas that I want to think about some more.

On Sept. 18, 2008 , Brenda Bailey-Hainer (CEO of BCR) and Gina Perschini (Networking Consultant of Idaho State Libraries) give us an interesting presentation about the Rethinking Resource Sharing initiative.

Some interesting questions:

  1. Bookburro-like tool they are developing: GoGetter. I want to look into bookburro a little more. Unclear whether it is smart enough to look for any book or to look for just books on book vending sites like Amazon.
  2. Why are we not loaning media items? If it is because of their cost, we loan books that are more expensive all the time…¬†¬†Many libraries loan their media to other libraries, but there are some who still don’t. Others only loan to special consortia. One of the insightful challenges from the audience to this open-media concept that went unanswered was that their library does not loan media because the patron can rent it from Netflix or a local rental store for a lot less than we loan for. This is definitely true.
  3. Why is it harder to get a library card than to rent a car? I rented a vehicle for the conference and all I needed was my valid driver’s license and a credit card. For most public libraries, a new resident must provide a valid address as well as some kind of picture ID. For new move-ins, they usually don’t get any mail with their name on it for some time. They have to wait to get a card. The big question of the session: why can I rent a $20,000 car but I can’t borrow $100 worth of your used books without a local address?
  4. Why not charge alternative users (community, business, etc) instead of just refusing service? This one really is connected with the other two thoughts above. Instead of saying no, why not charge a fee and say yes? With new residents, why not take a valid credit card number instead of address verification? People give out their CC# all the time on the web, why should the library be any different? For interlibrary loaning media, could we not charge patrons a comparable price to rentals?

My notes are below:

  • Introduction to the Rethinking Resource Sharing Initiative
  • Why?
    • expectations are changing based on non-library experience (online shopping, Google, economics, self-service, etc)
    • library funding
  • Goals
    • Focus on user experience rather than staff tasks
    • vendor neutral–we want it to not depend on one particular vendor
    • global context
    • broad definition of resource sharing
      • ill
      • consortial borrowing
      • reference services: these requests result in ILL sometimes
      • digital services: these deliver info to users too
      • delivery: email, delivery to their library or their home?
  • User needs
    • majority of surveyed patrons gave a turnaround time expectation: 3-5 days
      • 70% staff turnaround time expectation: 1-2 weeks
  • Interoperability
    • complex process (authentication, circ systems, ILL software, national catalogs, etc); many of us have to go system to system manually
      • users assume all of these things should be linked and talk to each other
    • GoGetter Project (Mozilla browser extension)
      • user clicks on the browser button to search where an item is available to purchase or borrow a resource
        • provider
        • delivery/loan terms
        • format
        • price
        • time to arrival (when could they get this item?)
      • user then selects an option to get the item
      • the button would work with libraries and websites with bibliographies, as well as purchasing vendors like Amazon
    • Where are we with the GoGetter?
      • working prototype
      • working on open source sign offs
      • many online book sellers prohibit you from taking information from their sites and displaying
      • another option that has a similar function to our GoGetter:
  • Policies
    • Manifesto for Rethinking Resource Sharing: what do we think the user wants from us?
    • “Cast off your policies and expose your resources”
    • user should be able to get what s/he wants on the user’s terms with as few hurdles as possible
    • Fewer restrictions
      • if 600 libraries own it how many will actually loan it if it is A/V?
    • Users can choose from options
      • method of delivery
      • fulfillment type: loan, copy, digital copy, or purchase
    • Global Access
      • use both formal and informal networking agreements
      • lowest barrier to fulfillment
      • do we loan to other countries? do we borrow from other countries
    • Share resources from all types of cultural institutions
      • libraries
      • archives
      • museums
      • expertise of all types utilized
    • Reference service facilitates sharing
      • use reference expertise to aid fulfillment
      • no findable object should be totally unattainable
      • when we cannot fill the request is the user referred back to the subject selector to find other avenues for finding the information or similar resources?
    • Offer service for a fair price rather than refusing service (making sure it is competitive with commercial alternative
      • strive to achieve services that are not more expensive than commercial services
    • Everyone can be a library user
      • Registration should be as easy as signing up for a commercial web service (is it as easy to get a library card as it is to join Netflix?)
        • no local drivers license
        • no local mail (new address)
        • none of these? no library card
        • if I was not a librarian, would I return?
        • maybe there is a fee attached…maybe I give you a credit card as a backup (they have given it to Netflix…why not the library?)
      • let’s make it easier to get a library card
      • let’s make the library card a welcome to the new location/town
      • Brenda Comment: I can rent a car for $20000 with a credit card and a drivers license…but I can’t borrow $100 worth of books from my local library?
  • Delivery
    • Home delivery
      • books by mail was the old term for this
        • many designed for home-bound patrons but others have no stipulation
      • some offer service to all patrons with a fee of $3.00 or so; others offer the service for free
      • Topeka and Shawnee County Public (KA)
        • user place holds online and the item is delivered
        • in 2006 they delivered 140,000 books for about $1.50/book
        • Benefits:
          • saves space
          • saves staff time
          • no need to build a local branch building
          • saves patron gas to not go all the way to the library to drop off
        • drop boxes all around the city
      • Orange County Library System’s MAYL
        • started in 1974
        • 700,000 in 2007; total circulation 1M; large portion of their circ
        • cost? $1.8M which is 3.3% of their overall budget
    • Print on demand
      • Internet Archive
        • no longer need to ILL old books (pre-1923) now because these books are now being digitized;
        • users can print out the book on demand
    • Future
      • thinking of a national brand for home delivery so users will recognize the service in different places around the country
  • Next for the initiative
    • $1000 cash value for new resource sharing implementation
    • start a discussion
    • take action: start a revolution in your library