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Elimination of ILL Fees for Non-Returnable Items

The BC ELN community is moving forward with the elimination of interlibrary loan (ILL) fees for non-returnable items between BC ELN partner libraries. This decision was made after careful discussion and deliberation, and is yet another example of partner libraries banding together to find a mutually agreeable solution that will benefit BC’s students, educatiors, and researchers.

How was the decision made to eliminate ILL fees for non-retunables?

Back in 2006, BC ELN eliminated ILL transaction fees for returnables (e.g. books, media items), and since then the possibility of removing fees for non-returnables (e.g. articles) has been an active goal. The ILL landscape has changed a great deal over the past thirteen years. Among developments in British Columbia, sharing articles is no longer reliant on laborious processes of printing, faxing, and mailing items, the reSearcher software was sunset, and the Illume Interlibrary Loan Service managed by BC ELN has been optimized through the implementation of Canadian servers, privacy-compliant Patron-Initiated ILL, Live Shelf Status, and guest requesting.

At the December 2019 All Partner Meeting, BC ELN library directors agreed to move forward with eliminating fees for non-returnable items. In their discussions they raised a number of considerations that were then brought forward to the BC ELN Steering Committee. With these in mind, on December 6th, 2019 the Steering Committee endorsed a plan to remove the fees, with the understanding that the considerations surfaced at the All Partner Meeting would be addressed.

What are the next steps?

COVID-19 Update: Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, timelines and activities for the elimination of ILL fees for non-returnable items are currently undergoing adjustment and will be discussed further at the November 2020 All Partner Meeting.

As of January 1st, 2020, ILL fees for non-returnable items between BC ELN partner libraries have been eliminated. The considerations raised at the All Partner Meeting will be addressed over the following year through four key activities:

  1. Develop Illume Service Benefits & Responsibilities to formalise expectations for institutions participating and partnering in Illume. These Benefits & Responsibilities would follow the same model as those used for other BC ELN services such as AskAway and Arca. They would include the expectation that participating institutions adhere to system best practices.
  2. Develop best practices for use of the Illume Service (e.g. best practices to clarify which workflows allow the system to load-balance requests optimally across the BC ELN resource sharing system).
  3. Investigate Illume software improvements to optimise load-levelling (e.g. building different system lender lists for different item types).
  4. Review after one year the impact of eliminating fees, system improvements, staff education, etc. BC ELN libraries continue to capture ILL statistics for 2020, although no fees will be applied.

Implementation Timeline

April 2020

  • Share announcement with all BC ELN partner libraries and stakeholders
  • Update post-secondary information on Illume website https://illumebc.ca
  • Compare 2019 institution-submitted ILL statistics with Illume statistics; identify load-balancing and ILL practice issues

Spring/Summer 2020

  • Identify software enhancements and further optimizations and determine development timeline in consultation with vendor when appropriate

Summer/Fall 2020

  • Develop Illume Service Benefits & Responsibilities
  • Develop Illume Service best practices
  • Contact individual libraries to discuss load-balancing and ILL practices
  • Develop FAQs and share widely with BC ELN partner libraries

February 2021

  • Analyse 2020 ILL statistics in comparison with 2019 statistics

Spring 2021

  • BC ELN Steering Committee determines next steps
  • Develop and deliver ILL staff education sessions based on best practices
  • Share discussion and next steps with BC ELN partner libraries