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Interlibrary loans and resource sharing


By Suzanne Thomas,

Whistler Public Library

The other day I heard a friend, a prolific reader, exclaim, "Did you know that if the library doesn’t own a book it can order it for you from another library?" He has just discovered the service we refer to as an Interlibrary Loan; the sharing of resources (borrowing and lending of materials) between libraries which allows patrons to draw upon the resources of distant libraries.

If you do not find what you are looking for at the Whistler Public Library, ask the library staff for an interlibrary loan form. Library staff will then search Outlook Online, a powerful and versatile utility which provides library staff with an effective means of generating, tracking and processing interlibrary loan requests. Outlook Online searches the union catalogue of British Columbia’s public, college and institute libraries. That means the book you requested might be borrowed for you from, say, the Elkford Public Library.

What type of materials can be borrowed?

• Books that are not owned by Whistler Public Library or missing from the library’s collection;

• Photocopies of journal articles.

What can’t be borrowed?

• Books owned by Whistler Public Library that are currently checked out or materials on reserve;

• Entire issues of journals;

• Most reference materials;

• Media (videos, cassettes, disks);

• Most books published within the last year.

What is the cost?

Most materials are obtained from B.C. public and college libraries free of charge. However, there is a charge for items borrowed or photocopied from B.C. universities.

Libraries do not have infinite resources – enough money to buy everything, enough room to shelve it or enough staff to catalogue it. Today’s libraries, and tomorrow’s, need to share resources. In February the Whistler Public Library borrowed 68 items for our patrons, while we lent 161 items.

Resource sharing is another way that the Whistler Public Library continues to provide free and equal access to library services for everyone in the community, for life-long learning and recreation.