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Using Interlibrary Loans & Remote Access in a Media Center Program

Instructor: Clio Stearns

Clio has taught education courses at the college level and has a Ph.D. in curriculum and instruction.

Many times, a library cannot have as many resources as its patrons would like to keep on hand. This lesson discusses some of the ways you can use interlibrary loans and remote access to bolster your media center program.

Running a Library Media Center

As the head librarian at Katch High School, Janie knows she has many responsibilities. Over the last several years, Katch has transformed from a traditional library program to a media center, a program that combines a library with a tremendous amount of technology and access to diverse materials.

Janie makes many different resources available to the teachers and students at Katch, and she is proud of the role she plays in helping students achieve digital literacy as well as do compelling and meaningful research on a variety of topics.

At the same time, Janie knows her media center is finite, and she uses remote access, or access to the materials and resources of other libraries, to allow her students to access a more diverse and richer range of materials.

Purpose of Interlibrary Loan

One of the processes Janie is really interested in is interlibrary loan, which allows students at Katch to borrow and make use of physical and digital materials from all of the other school and public libraries in their district.

Janie explains to her students that the purpose of interlibrary loan is to expand what they have access to. Using interlibrary loan, they can get at more specialized books, media, and journals. They can learn more about the different kinds of library collections that exist in the world, and they can diversify their research methodology as a result.

Most of Janie's students love interlibrary loan and see no disadvantages to its inclusion in their studies.

Process of Interlibrary Loan

Janie knows that the process involved in interlibrary loan varies a bit from one media center to the next. In general, she thinks the first step toward interlibrary loan is teaching students to use the catalogue sensibly.

Students can elect to search only what is available in the Katch library, or they can do a broader search of the whole remote network. When they choose something that is available from a different library, they place an order for it. Every day, materials are transported within the library system. It usually takes about a week for Janie's students to receive physical materials via interlibrary loan. Virtual materials are usually available for use immediately once students have checked them out.

Application of Remote Access

Janie can see her students using this kind of remote access in many different ways that make her excited about the possibilities.

Reference Services

First of all, Janie knows that interlibrary loans and remote access are tremendously useful in terms of reference services. Janie can only keep so much material on hand, but the public libraries have more specific and specialized materials. One student is doing a report on the history of music, and via remote access, he is able to chat with the music reference librarian in Janie's town. This in turn allows him to find and order the precise CDs and books he needs to do a better and more specialized, detailed job with his project.

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