Sunday, February 25, 2007

The Interlibrary Loan Department

You may not have noticed the Interlibrary Loan Department of the library. They work down in the basement of the Main Library, and their collection is by definition invisible (though vast): the 81,000,000 titles we don't have and which are available for us to borrow from 57,000 public and academic libraries throughout the country. Articles from periodicals and microfilm of reference materials are also available.

It's a reciprocal service, and we try to fill as many requests from other libraries for their patrons as we borrow for our own users—approximately 3600 books per year, lending and borrowing. This includes items from as far away as Alaska and Hawaii. Quite a few requests come to us for regional information, including books on building with adobe, Native American history, and xeriscape gardening. Some of the more interesting requests from our own patrons include oral histories of obscure folk artists from the Smithsonian's Archives of Art, books in French, German, and Polish, and non-fiction books on everything from building carousel horses to dancing the samba.

We can borrow almost anything for you. Thousands of new titles are added to the network every day (Watch Worldcat grow). "A fantastic service," says library patron and volunteer, Richard Graham, "imagine what it would cost if you had to pay for it!" Linda H., the interlibrary loan librarian, says, "If you have a library need that has not been met by the Santa Fe Public Library's collection, please check with the Reference Desk for assistance with Interlibrary Loan possibilities. Happy reading from your Interlibrary Loan Department."

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