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Wednesday, 22 June 2016

Interlibrary Loan

Like many libraries, if not most, ours offers an interlibrary loan service for those books we don’t own. That is, if a customer wants a book that is at least one year old, and we don’t keep it in our system, we will search for a copy to borrow from a location outside our area.

One customer clearly didn’t quite understand how it worked. I received this call:

Customer: Hello, I’d like to borrow x title through interlibrary loan. It’s available at y library (he named a mega system).

After checking the title to make sure it wasn’t in our collection, I looked at the interlibrary loan database for an owning location. The only one listed was the one he’d identified, but their copy was reference – for use in library only.

Me: I’m sorry; I don’t know if we’ll be able to get that for you. It’s reference. Even if they send it to us, you’ll have to use it in the library here.

Customer: I need to be able to take it home with me.

Me: It’s not possible. It’s for in library use only.

Customer: I know they won’t let me take it out from y library, but if they send it to you, I’ll come and get it.

Me: (Huh?) That’s what I’m saying. Reference material can’t leave the library, no matter which library has possession of it. Where are you calling from?

The customer identified himself as a resident of the city in which y library was located.

Me: Do you attend school in our area? Do you have one of our library cards?

Customer: No.

Oy, vey!! Take two get-with-it pills and don’t call me in the morning!

The customer gives even this little girl a headache!!


  1. I think he was trying Jedi mind tricks on you. Glad you didn't fall for it! You should have suggested another book for him to read ...


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