Borrowing From Our Users to Fill #ILL Requests

August 13, 2009
SMB Library loans desk
Image by moonflowerdragon via Flickr

Here is something that I have been thinking about for a few months now.

When a user can’t find an item in our catalog they go to ILL. ILL then contacts various libraries to see if they would lend the item in question. What if ILL instead contacted local users who have volunteered their personal library “holdings” as potential lenders?

I am calling this Patron-to-Patron Lending. Here’s what it would look like: The loaning local user would bring their book to the ILL office. ILL would then check out the book for a typical checkout period to the borrowing local user. When finished with the item, the borrower would then return the book to the ILL office to be returned to the loaner.

The borrowing patron would never know their request was filled by a local user; ILL would be the full mediator of the exchange.

This could also have implications for items that we do own but are currently checked out. This could be a way to alleviate pressure on long queues for holds on popular items.

Is anybody doing something like this? I have done some extensive searches but come up empty. Maybe not using the correct keywords? I would be really shocked if no one has ever thought of this.

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