Thursday, June 18, 2009

Oh the Places You’ll Go With Interlibrary Loan

Working in Interlibrary Loan we have the pleasure of obtaining materials from very interesting and sometimes exotic locations. Sometimes it is the material that piques our interest.

Here are some of the recent interesting libraries and materials that have come across my desk.

Did you know that many US government agencies have their own libraries that lend us items you request? We do a lot of business with the Library of Congress, which is no surprise after one considers their massive holdings. We’ve also dealt with the US Air Force Historical Studies Office in D.C, the US Commission on Civil Rights, the Massachusetts Trial Court System, NASA, National Security Agency, Central Intelligence Agency, and the Naval War College in Newport, Rhode Island.

It is the rare exception that one of those libraries provides us with something a patron wants because public and university libraries tend to own most of what is desired. Every now and again something unique comes in and that is when those government institutions lend a helping hand.

Alternatively, we receive interesting tomes from less exotic locations. The demand for genealogical information has led to an array of data from days gone past. Or we may receive something in a foreign language. Russian, German, Chinese, and Hebrew seem to be the most popular and reflect the diverse makeup of the Metrowest Region.

I personally received several interesting books. Two of them were most surprising because they are primary sources from WWII published by Adolf Hitler’s personal photographer. Both propaganda pieces feature crystal clear photographs that open a window into the haunting world of one of history’s worst tyrants. These 1930's sources proved invaluable to my research and Interlibrary Loan made it possible for me to use them.

What have your experiences been with ILL providing materials from exotic locations or exotic material from any location?


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