What is ILL? An Interview with two of Copley’s Favorite Detectives


In today’s post we visit with Alex and Leslie from our Inter-library Loan (ILL) department to find out what ILL is and how it can help you.

What is ILL?

Alex: ILL is a resource sharing service that allows us to borrow items such as books and articles from other institutions all over the world; it also allows us to loan Copley owned materials to institutions worldwide.

Leslie: I always tell people that ILL is their third option for books and their second option for articles; if we don’t have an article you need on our shelves or in one of our databases, we try to get it for you. Likewise, if the book you need is not available in Copley’s collection or in our local book exchange (The Circuit) you can send us a request to try and get it for you.

What is the coolest library you have ever loaned something too or borrowed from?

Alex: Well, we loan and borrow from lots of different organizations including libraries, government agencies, museums and even law firms. I guess the CIA is probably the coolest place we ever borrowed from. As far as loaning, I really like it when we are able to loan Copley materials to the U.S. military libraries around the world because they are very small in most cases and they rely heavily on borrowing from others.

Leslie: I like borrowing from the Smithsonian and the Library of Congress because they have awesome collections. Unfortunately, all of their resources have to be restricted to library use only so we don’t borrow from them as much as I would like.

How long does it take for items to arrive?

Alex: It depends. If we can find a library to loan you a book chapter or article we can deliver it electronically in 1-4 days; our average turn around for articles is 12.5 hours Monday-Friday. If we find an organization to loan us a book that you need it has to be delivered through the mail. We always make book requests with places that are nearby when we can but if the only place available happens to be in Spain or Germany, it could take weeks.

What is your favorite thing about ILL?

Leslie: I like the detective work it requires; we do not always have a lot of information to go on and it is very gratifying to track down difficult to find items for our patrons.

Alex:  There is definately some detective work involved and I like that. I also really enjoy being able to provide our patrons with access to materials we do not have, especially rare materials. My favorite thing we have ever borrowed was a very rare bible that we had to insure for $5,000 before they would loan it to us.

If you have any questions about our ILL service feel free to contact Leslie or Alex anytime via email at clill@sandiego.edu or via telephone at 619-260-2364. You can also visit our ILL website for more information!


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