Thursday, December 17, 2015

Collaborative Resource Sharing Pilot Project with South Central Library System

Guest post by Kathy Wolkoff and Mary Fahndrich, Outerlibrary Loan Services, Madison Public Library

Madison Public Library, the ILL clearinghouse for the South Central Library System, recently launched a WISCAT borrowing pilot project in collaboration with RL&LL [Department of Public Instruction, Resources for Libraries & Lifelong Learning]. We use ILLiad to manage our request volume and primarily borrow via OCLC, but as more Wisconsin library systems have left OCLC, it has become harder for us to fully and efficiently clear our requests in-state before venturing further afield. We’d already been handling in-state lending requests from WISCAT via ILLiad for about five years, so in June we took on the challenge of trying to make ILLiad and WISCAT play nicely with each other on the borrowing side.

We had a few technical problems at the outset (we’ll call them operator error), but we’re happy to report that we were able to dramatically improve our success at filling requests in-state. From June through November, we’ve filled 39% of our requests from Wisconsin public libraries, compared with 30% during the same period in 2014. Libraries that we hadn’t had reliable access to before are now able to share their collections with us, and we have a vastly improved workflow over our former method, which could safely be described as “send out an email and hope for the best.”

Our fill rates are up, returns are a breeze, we’re improving our balance between borrowing and lending in-state, and our member libraries are saving on postage costs. On all fronts, we count this in the win column for Wisconsin resource sharing.

Written by:
Kathy Wolkoff and Mary Fahndrich, Interlibrary Loan/Outerloan Department, Madison Public Library, South Central Library System