- Tell us a bit about yourself. A little “introduction to you.
My name is Kate Coleman and I’m the Vice-Chairperson of the MALA ILL Special Interest Group (SIG). I have worked in libraries since I was 18 years old and spent many hours in them as a child, as well. I have been happily married for 14 years to someone who doesn’t read at all. I guess opposites really do attract! We have a 6 ½ year old daughter who has taken to reading very nicely, I’m happy to say. I am currently working on my Bachelor’s degree in Business Management and plan to go straight on and get my MLIS.
- Are you a reader? Tell us about what you like to read.
I am most definitely a reader! My favorite is a big, fat epic novel. I’ve often said that my favorite kind of book is one I need to have a dictionary on stand-by for. I do enjoy fantasy fiction quite a lot, and have also read my fair share of young adult books. My favorite authors of all time are Richard Russo and Jo Rowling. Oh yes, I am an avid and proud Potter Head! I’m a Ravenclaw and my patronus is a house cat (or at least all that is all true in my head).
- Tell us about your library.
I am a paraprofessional with the Jefferson County Library District in Missouri, right outside of St. Louis. We have three branches and a Central Services office, serving about 70,000 patrons. I work in the Central Services office in the Technical Services department and divide my time between the Cataloging and Interlibrary Loan teams. I think being a cataloger helps me in ILL because I’m familiar with a wide range of items. Plus I can make sure MARC records are in tip-top shape so our staff and patrons can find exactly what they’re looking for. If we don’t have it, they can ILL it!
- How long have you been in Interlibrary Loan?
I’ve done ILL since day one, so since I was 18 years old. That is 16 years. Wow! I’ve been through the many phases of ILL, starting with Passport (DOS anyone?), then to Resource Sharing, and now on to WorldShare ILL. Oh how far we’ve come! The one system I’ve never worked with is ILLIAD. I’d love to get a glimpse of it!
- What is your best ILL story?
I always feel a bit of pride when I get to lend an item to an institution of note. We’ve lent to the Library of Congress, Yale, Princeton, Boston and New York public libraries, and more! I love getting patrons the items they want.
- What is your worst ILL story?
We had the same item requested by two separate patrons, plus one of the patrons requested another item with a nearly identical title as well. In the end, SOMEHOW, we had returned all the wrong items to all the wrong places. It was such a nightmare to get it all straight and locate all the correct items to get back to their rightful home. We made that bed and had to lie in it for a long time!
- What is your favorite ILL tip?
Number one for me would definitely be setting up Custom Holding groups and custom paths. Setting those up can help you receive items quicker and streamline things nicely.
Also, book straps can now be printed ANY TIME after you’ve received an item! Hallelujah! Am I the only one that consistently forgot to print a book strap when receiving the item? Anyone? Only me? Ok…
- Do you have an ILL pet peeve? Can you suggest a solution for the problem?
Inappropriate and/or insufficient packaging of materials for transport. Let’s be kind to ours and other libraries’ items, especially A/V material! Yes, I know it’s an extra step and often is a bit time-consuming, but being considerate goes a long way.
I’ll also give an honorable mention to paying attention to where you’re sending something. As a library that has a pretty common name, we get items for Jefferson County in Colorado, Washington, Indiana, etc. It’s time wasted for everyone.