One of the cool unanticpated side-effects of being able to see the library books I’ve got checked out as an RSS feed is that when inter-library loans come in, I see them in my newsreader well before I get an email from the library telling me they’ve arrived. Case in point:
This is true because ILL books get “pre-checked out” for you when they arrive, I assume because they have an immovable due date (when they have to get back to the “home” library).
While I’m here, let me again sing the praises of the inter-library loan. For the uninitiated, this is a service offered by most public libraries wherein if a book is not held in their own collection, they will scour the globe (or at least the continent) to find a copy for you and have it shipped to your home branch where you can borrow it just like a regular library book.
In the olden pre-computer days when ILL requests had to be delivered by canoe and sled-dog, this could take several months; with modern technology (along with the excellent ILL sleuths of the Provincial Library here on PEI), I’m finding many requests arrive within a week or two.
Inter-library loan makes your local public library much more powerful because it means, albeit with a time lag, their collection is essentially infinite.