Ask A Librarian

WVU Libraries Hit Milepost with Book Borrowing Service

Posted by Monte Maxwell.
January 26th, 2009

Throw some confetti and drop the balloons. The WVU Libraries have recently delivered the one-millionth book to be requested through the popular E-ZBorrow service.

“I was really excited when I learned we hit the milestone,” said Hilary Fredette, Head of Access Services for the Downtown Campus Library. “I knew that the one-millionth request was due at any time, but I didn’t think that WVU would be the library to get the request.”

The book, The City and the Pillar and Seven Early Stories by Gore Vidal, was requested by a University of Pittsburgh student.

E-ZBorrow is similar to Interlibrary Loan but offers some advantages. The service enables users to log onto a Web site themselves and simultaneously search the library holdings of more than 50 colleges and universities. After finding the desired title, users can then request the book be sent to a library on their campus.

The service was created by the Pennsylvania Academic Library Consortium Inc., or PALCI, a group of academic libraries with a reciprocal lending and borrowing agreement. WVU joined PALCI in 2004 and is among a handful of members outside of the Keystone State.

Talk about hitting the one-million mark began in August 2008 when the 900,000th request arrived, said Randy Jenkins, Manager of the Libraries’ Depository. It took just 20 weeks for the libraries in PALCI to fill 100,000 requests, which translates to 5,000 transactions a week.

The WVU Libraries contribute significantly to E-ZBorrow operations, receiving and filling about 300 requests a week.

WVU students and faculty also benefit greatly from this service. While the WVU Libraries have 1.6 million books, the agreement gives students access to combine collections totaling near 30 million. Last year, students and faculty here used E-ZBorrow to obtain about 15,000 books.

“The service is another user choice,” Libraries Dean Frances O’Brien said. “You could try to find the complete text of an out-of-copyright book online, you could purchase the book from Amazon or Alibris, you could plan a trip to Philadelphia to visit Penn’s Van Pelt Library, or you can try E-ZBorrow.”

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