Library Collection Building: The Interlocking Functions of ILL, Acquisitions, and Collection Development Public Deposited

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  • Interlibrary loan (ILL) transactions are designed to meet specific requests for information. Acquisitions and collection development decisions, on the other hand, are traditionally made with an eye toward anticipating future information needs. Acquisitions staff members generally purchase information as decided by collection development processesalthough they, or ILL staff, can also purchase material requested by library users through ILL. Librarians can enable such “purchase-on-demand” or “buy versus borrow” programs to supplement, or even supplant, traditional collection development and acquisitions, especially when buying is quicker or less expensive than borrowing, when an item is likely to be of use to more than one local library user, or when something is unavailable for borrowing ( for instance, because it is too new). In addition, ILL request data can be used to better inform collection development decisions regarding what information local library users are requesting. Staff in ILL, acquisitions, and collection development can also all use the same procedures and software to communicate, process requests, and collect such data. Some libraries, therefore, are combining these three related functions into one department, or finding new ways for these functions to work more closely and communicate more smoothly, enabling librarians to better serve user needs for information access. This chapter explores the experiences of two libraries, Oregon State University (OSU) and the University of Kansas (KU), that have made changes to their respective organizational structures in order to better meet the information needs of their communities. Changes in technology and in the scholarly publishing landscape, increased expectations of users for immediate access to information, and shrinking library collection budgets prompted librarians at both institutions to review the relationships and effectiveness of previously siloed collection development, interlibrary loan, and acquisitions units. Both libraries have now found ways to organize ILL and acquisitions departments to better support collection development. These examples of successful cooperation within libraries mirror the success that ILL staff already enjoy by working closely with colleagues at other libraries, and provide a model for library staff in any and all libraries interested in collaborating more closely or combining functions and departments within a library.
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