The Inter-Library Loan — wherein your local library obtains for you, usually at no cost, a book not in their local collection from another library, often one very far away — is the great secret of the book world. I have many friends — mostly librarians, I must admit — who are diehard borrowers of books using this system. And many more friends who have never ordered a book by Inter-Library Loan, never even considered it.
I’ve always found the online form for Inter-Library Loan on Prince Edward Island to be needlessly complex, and I’ve never got my library card handy to enter its number when required.
So I created a my own Inter-Library Loan Request Form. The form is simpler, and smarter — it will remember your personal details (using cookies) so that once you’ve entered them once, you don’t need to do it every time. Otherwise, it simply submits the information to the Provincial Library Service using the same mechanisms, and then the helpful library folks take over.
I’ve got two ILL books on the go right now. The first, About Town: The New Yorker and the World It Made, came from Halifax. I picked up the second, Reporting Back: Notes on Journalism today; it came from British Columbia.
If you’ve never used the ILL system before, and you’re a reader, I encourage you to try the system out. I welcome comments on the design and function of the form, and on the books you read as a result.
If you’re interested in taking things one step further, read about the follow-up project, ISBN to Inter-Library Loan on the Reinvented Labs website.