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Interlibrary Loan Round Table - November 2021 Summary

General Topic: Patron Initiated Requests

Libraries that have used patron initiated requests (either through Clover or through Catamount) have found it to be a successful and appreciated service. One library noted that it was especially helpful for homeschoolers during the pandemic, and that it helped cut down on paperwork.

There was discussion about how some libraries use different ways of patron-initiated requests. Catamount libraries have patron requests between the Catamount libraries, some libraries use Clover and have logins set up for their patrons, VSCS has a Koha instance shared by the libraries and patrons can request from other institutions in the system.

There are two ways to implement patron initiated requests in Clover:

SIP2 – which will connect to the ILS and pull in patron data for each request

Upload patron records – which will require manual updating, but does not require a SIP2 connection


Generally it was agreed that there are some issues with patrons choosing the wrong item, or requesting an item that the library already owns. One librarian notes that ¾ of the requests are fine and can be approved and sent right through. Another said in three years of offering patron-initiated requests there have been very few issues. Requests for DVDs and books in series are usually problematic due to the differing catalog entries (this is not just a patron issue). The more that patrons experience patron-initiated requests, the better they will do with it.


Suggestions for an elevator speech in support of patron initiated requests included:

·        Patrons want it, use it, and it has been really helpful during COVID.

·        Problems that they are dealing with were problems they already have now (items too new, already owned, etc.)

·        Has saved staff time and frees them up to help with requests from other patrons


ILL Limits – Who has them?

Ilsley has none

Hartland limits to five

Rutland goes on a case-by-case basis, but tries to limit to three

St. Johnsbury limits to five

VSCS has ILL and checkout limits

Bennington is limited to five a week and has soft limits for some (those who are habitually late)

Rockingham has no ILL limit

Arvin A. Brown has no ILL limit, and homeschooler families are the ones who request the most


Instructional and Promotional Materials

A request to share any instructional and promotional materials was made, and two of those are now posted in the Patron Initiated folder on our ILL Round Table Google Folder here.