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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, educators, 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 have been adjusted.  The timeline below reflects these changes.

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 will capture ILL statistics for an additional year to assist with assessment.

Implementation Timeline

April 2020

  • Share announcement with all BC ELN partner libraries and stakeholders
  • Update post-secondary information on Illume website

Spring/Summer 2020

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

    Fall 2020

    • Develop Illume Service Benefits & Responsibilities
    • Develop Illume Service Best Practices
    • Provide update to partner libraries

    January 2021

    • Finalize Illume Service Benefits & Responsibilities
    • Develop Illume Service Best Practices

    February 2021

    • Launch Best Pratices
    • Analyse 2019 institution-submitted  ILL statistics with Illume software-generated statistics; identify load-balancing and ILL practice issues
    • Contact individual libraries to discuss load-balancing and ILL practices

    Spring/Summer 2021

    • Develop and deliver ILL staff education sessions based on best practices
    • Develop FAQs and share widely with BC ELN partner libraries
    • Continue analysis and discussion with partner libraries
    • Provide updates to BC ELN Steering Committee and partner libraries

    Summer 2021

    • Assessmnet timed for mid-July 2021 to mid-July 2022
    • Determine next steps with Steering Committee
    • Share discussion and next steps with BC ELN partner libraries