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Special Interest Group Archive: Resource Sharing 9/16/2021

These are the notes from meetings dating back to 2015.

September 16, 2021

The Resource Sharing SIG was held on Thursday, September 16, 2021 at 1:30pm via Zoom. The notes are below. 



What is happening with your library in terms of circulation? Are you providing curbside delivery, in-person browsing, etc?   

  • One library is still doing curbside service but it isn’t getting used very much. 

  • Stacks are open to browsing / use but patrons aren’t coming in to browse as much. 

  • One library re-opened the building and stopped curbside. They would help someone if they needed to pick up materials outside of the library, though. Course reserves are back live - students are getting used to scanning. 

  • Students have figured out some workarounds, such as getting a scan of the chapter instead of requesting the whole textbook. 

  • Reserves are being used but not as much as in prior semesters. 

  • Print requests are very popular! People put in print requests by phone, and then people come in and pick up printed materials. This is a big draw at both public and academic libraries.

  • One public library noted that their library is fully open so people can come in as they need. The only thing that’s limited are programs -- they are very few in person options. Curbside is also still available. 


What’s the coolest physical item that you see circulate? 

  • Mohonk passes! This can be great for academic libraries to cross promote with local public libraries. Students can be encouraged to sign up for local library cards and get passes to local historic sites and museums.  

  • One public library is hoping to circulate a collection of ties, which would be helpful for young people going on job interviews. They received donations from the public. If someone kept a tie and didn’t return it, it wouldn’t be a big deal.  

  • Circulating ties could also be a great service for an academic library. One of the big focuses on campus is preparedness beyond the college career. This could be a way to collaborate with another department, such as a career center. An event could also be hosted detailing how to tie a tie.  

  • Circulating board games - before COVID that was very popular. In the past tablets and electronic equipment were circulated too.  


Challenges of switching to primarily offering library resources online:  

  • Pre-COVID, students didn’t really want digital materials. They primarily wanted physical materials. 

  • At hospitals, every resource is only available online. This meant that during the pandemic there wasn’t as much stress about switching from print to electronic resources. Recently some chat clients were installed on library websites to create a quick way to get in touch with library staff. 

  • There was a recent survey released about e-books. The survey stated that students prefer both electronic and physical materials. For them it often depends on what the item is needed for -- if it needs to be used all semester, they prefer a textbook. If it needs to be used for just a chapter or a specific assignment, they prefer e-book. (A summary of the survey can be found via Info Docket). 

  • During a recent training with hospital residents, several of them wanted to download the books for offline use. 

  • One academic library started purchasing two copies of materials during COVID: a physical copy and a digital copy. A lot of students want the print version if they have to read a significant amount of the book. 

  • One academic library was originally going to have all classes offered in-person. Due to rising cases, some have since gone online. As a result students need individual study spaces. Library staff are getting asked more about headphones and using study rooms for classes. 

  • Had to “re-zone” parts of the library to be zoom friendly. 

  • One public library noted that it can be difficult to offer virtual trainings, such as book discussions. Some of the patrons aren’t comfortable with online events.. At public libraries a lot of people want the physical item and to be present in the library. 

  • Answered questions about using Zoom but for some people just the thought of it can be kind of overwhelming. 

  • Study rooms are frequently used for zoom classes. Headphones are also going out much more than pre-COVID. 



Is anyone doing displays again? 

  • One library recently got rid of the majority of periodicals, which left a massive space. They came up with the idea to do a physical display to use up the space. Used reading prompts from pop sugar to encourage students to try out some new books. There are 50 prompts with books to match in the display. Some of the prompts are specific to the library and also promote library services. 

  • One of the prompts refers patrons back to inter-library loan. One student refers to ILL as “the collection that we don’t own”.   

  • Doing displays at the public library - highlighting seasonal items, and some materials relating to Hispanic Heritage Month. When patrons have displays they are used and a lot of items are picked up from them.  

  • One academic library noted that no one ever touches the display! Even if it says take an item, people typically don’t take materials from it.

  • While displays circulate - older people take them much more frequently. Younger people (especially children) don’t take items as much. They tend to think that the display shouldn’t be touched. 

  • Have a new book display. Things are picking up again so they are going to start using displays again. 


Sidenote: a really great resource for ILL practitioners is FB Illers. People post on all sorts of ILL topics, including upcoming events, relevant resources, questions about workflows, and the occasional meme: 


Inter-library loan statistics: what do they mean? What does a low number indicate versus a high number. Could it just mean that it’s not as needed and that the collection is sufficient? How do you share data about ILL with administrators who might not know exactly what those numbers mean?

  • Did some research into ILL benchmarks, because the raw number doesn’t necessarily mean much on its own. There isn’t a lot of information available on this, especially because every library is so different. 

  • Numbers tell you what you’re doing, but don’t always tell you more information beyond that, such as how often things that are already owned are asked for.  

  • Who’s to say what is a “good number” versus what is a “bad number”? 

  • At SUNY, for example, it’s not always good / helpful to compare it to other SUNY schools. It’s like comparing apples to oranges. What story does that tell, and what additional information is needed?  

  • At one public library, librarians provide a monthly report to their supervisors. Most of ILLed titles are things that wouldn’t circulate if not part of the main collection. Never had an administrator ask follow-up questions about it. 


Do you use ILL requests as a way to inform collection development? 

  • ILLiad has a feature that can connect with collection development. You can set up ILL requests to be viewed by aquisitions staff to see it and decide whether they want to buy it.  

  • One library has built collection development into their workflow. Before anything is ILLed, it is sent first to acquisitions (DVD, books, etc) to see if they would want to buy it. 95% percent of the time, they buy it for the collection. They have a whole budget for it and it can help to fill holes in the collection. It can also sometimes show up faster than it would through inter-library loan. They do minimal processing and send it out right away.  

  • Have noticed that books tend to be requested by professors while students tend to order articles.  

  • Can also use CONTU  tracking as a way to see journal use. This can be a good way to see if a particular journal might be a good addition to the collection. 


Our next meeting is scheduled for November 18th at 2. Southeastern is also hosting a webinar called the Basics of Facilitating a meeting. If anyone is interested, more info can be found here: 



Southeastern NY Library Resources Council
21 South Elting Corners Road | Highland, NY 12528
Phone: (845) 883-9065