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Elimination of ILL Fees for Non-Returnable Items
The BC ELN community is moving into 2020 with the elimination of interlibrary loan (ILL) fees for non-returnable items between BC ELN partner libraries. This decision was made after multiple discussions and deliberations, and is yet another example of partner libraries banding together to find a mutually agreeable solution that will benefit BC’s students, researchers, and citizens.
How was the decision made to eliminate ILL fees for non-retunables?
Way 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 examined numerous times. 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 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?
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:
- 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.
- 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).
- Investigate Illume software improvements to optimise load-levelling (e.g. building different system lender lists for different item types).
- 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.
- Share celebratory 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
March - April 2020
- Contact individual libraries to discuss load-balancing and ILL practices
- Develop Illume Service Benefits & Responsibilities
- Develop Illume Service best practices
- Develop FAQs and share widely with BC ELN partner libraries
- Identify software enhancements and further optimizations and determine development timeline in consultation with vendor when appropriate
- Develop and deliver ILL staff education sessions based on best practices
- Analyse 2020 ILL statistics in comparison with 2019 statistics
- BC ELN Steering Committee determines next steps
- Share discussion and next steps with BC ELN partner libraries