Saturday, October 13, 2007

Reciprocal Faculty Borrowing Program - Let's do more...

Hello Everyone,

A few weeks ago, one of our faculty members was told that in order to check out at a nearby library, they would need to obtain an OCLC RFBP card from their home institution first (then return to check out the books in their present hands). The reference department had cleaned house recently, so those RFBP cards weren't available, but the process of obtaining new cards and helping this user made me wonder why hasn't this program evolved. OK, first the basics...

This is a borrowing program that over 100 libraries signed on years ago. It originated from an OCLC reference advisory committee, and it basically enables authorized card carrying faculty members to check out from participating libraries - provided they get the card before they drop by the library. If you are wondering if your institution is on the list - I added the link to the program list on SHAREILL's network page: Note: OCLC will update this 1999 website with the following details and more:
Details about the program: from OCLC's Online Publication #46a
What does the card look like?

When I asked the ILL Listserv for feedback on the program, it's obvious that about one maybe two cards are issued every year - so marketing this program hasn't exactly reached the faculty population, or the library staff that are usually surprised by questions about RFBP.

While this program seems revolutionary for the time, we can do more...

How about the resource sharing wings of IFLA and ALA take their lead from the rethinking resource sharing initiative and enhance this type of program with more libraries, less hurdles, more systematic and authorize more users.

A most wonderful librarian, in talking about the need for reviving this program recently wrote "Of course, my real dream is to create a national library card that we can use at any library in the country. Now *that* would be a real service for the library user!" I agree and further, I think we could even create a global library card - now that is a card I want in my wallet! Lastly, in many ways, ILL serves as a virtual global library card with a relatively expensive add-on paging & delivery system; expanding any direct reciprocal borrowing program seems a good idea all around.

So I feel it's worth asking:
Can we use the ILL system like consortia circulation borrowing system?
Basic authorization, accouting, and even tracking systems can help us approve and enable direct borrowing of users, provided the ILL system were tweaked a bit. If so, we might expand the idea of ILL to include visiting circulation services.

What do you think? Shall we expand our ideas of ILL to enable direct & convenient resource sharing? Shall we make this our cooperative 2008 resolution?