Resource Sharing Team Ensures Cost-Effective Access to Information Resources: An Interview with Lynda Sadusky, Resource Sharing Librarian
October 31, 2017
Drexel University Libraries provides access for the Drexel community to more than 800,000 print and electronic resources, but sometimes our users find something that is not available at Drexel. That’s where the Libraries’ Resource Sharing Team comes into action.
This month, I sat down with Lynda Sadusky to learn more about resource sharing—particularly interlibrary loan—and how her team supports Drexel students, faculty and staff.
Q: Tell me about the Resource Sharing Department and how you serve the Drexel community.
A: The Resource Sharing Team is a vital part of the Drexel University Libraries. We work to find cost-effective ways to fulfill requests for books, journals and other materials that are not owned by or not currently available through the Libraries. As part of that work, we develop mutually-beneficial relationships with other libraries throughout the country (and even the world) so we can access their resources to fulfill our users' requests. We also provide reciprocal support to other universities by sharing our articles, books and other resources available at Drexel.
Q: What is Interlibrary Loan (ILL), and how does it work?
A: ILL is the collaborative sharing of books, articles and other media to supplement a library's existing collection. Using ILL, we can borrow materials from other libraries, and they can in turn borrow from us. ILL services are completely free for Drexel faculty, staff, students, residents and fellows.
At Drexel, the process is really simple. Typically, one of our users initiates a request for materials on our website, or a Drexel librarian may initiate the request on a user’s behalf. We process the request through our ILL management software system called ILLiad, which we use to identify a library that offers the requested material. Next, we coordinate with the identified cooperating institution to get the material.
Once we receive it, we either send the resource to the user electronically, or we work closely with our colleagues in the Print Resource Access Management Team (PRAM) to deliver the physical copy to the person who requested it. In that case, we’ll either hold the item at one of the Libraries or, for Drexel distant learners, we mail it directly to their home address.
Q: How is ILL an important part of ensuring access to information? What are some of the benefits of ILL that you wish all DU faculty, students and staff knew?
A: ILL is essential to the Libraries and to our users. This service allows us to provide access to information resources upon individual request when it is not cost-effective to purchase or license the material for the entire Drexel community.
ILL was originally conceived to provide additional support for faculty and graduate students engaged in intensive research or dissertation work, but it has expanded significantly. Now, we have students and faculty working on all sorts of projects who can benefit from ILL services. We have students writing weekly papers who request a book or journal article they need, and we’ve had faculty who request materials to help them prepare a presentation or grant proposal. It’s a fantastic service, and it means that if Drexel doesn’t have direct access to something, we usually can get it for our researchers from another library.
Q: What are a few of the most frequently asked questions you get from library users about ILL?
A: We get a lot of questions about the length of time it takes to get some materials. Questions like, “Why does it take more than an hour to get an article? Google doesn’t take that long” or “Why can’t I keep my book all semester?” We always explain the process to users so they better understand how far away many of these resources are coming from and why it might take 2 – 3 days or more to get some materials. We also manage an FAQs page on the Libraries’ website or people email us at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions or concerns.
Members of the Resource Sharing Team include Mel Bradley, Stephanie Davis, Evan Rich, Lynda Sadusky and Dave Wagner. For more information about the Drexel University Libraries’ Resource Sharing Team or Interlibrary Loan, visit https://www.library.drexel.edu/services/borrow-other-libraries/