Meet Kari Sime


Greetings! I’m Kari Sime, the Interlibrary Loan librarian at Johnson County Library (KNJ). I grew up in Prairie Village, Kansas. After graduating from the University of Kansas, I taught elementary school in Leavenworth and Shawnee Mission and for the U.S. Department of Defense Dependents Schools in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba and Bitburg, Germany. A degree in library science led me back home to Johnson County where I’ve worked at the Central Resource Library for over a decade.

My favorite children’s authors include Avi, Jon Scieszka, and Chris Van Allsburg because they’re so creative. I read a broad range of books for all ages, and love it when authors’ experiences show up in their stories. An interest in authors’ lives has led to trips to Louisa May Alcott’s family home in Concord, Massachusetts, where the children really were allowed to draw on the walls, and to the Brontes’ home in Haworth, England. One year I spent a month reading and discussing English literature in the Cambridge University summer program for adults.

The Johnson County Library system in Kansas serves a continually growing suburb of Kansas City. Our Interlibrary Loan Department is in the newly renovated Central Resource Library, one of thirteen libraries. Our ten staff members keep busy processing between 3,500 and 4,000 borrowing and lending requests monthly. You’ll have to visit our building’s new Maker Space where people can create using a variety of media. Our system is about to break ground for two new libraries.

My best ILL story happened at one of our smaller libraries. A patron checked out an ILL book, read, enjoyed, and returned it. When we processed the item to return to the lender, we found eleven dollar bills in the book. To our surprise, when we called the patron who requested the book, she said that she didn’t get a chance to check out the book. Fortunately, this library is in a small community, and the staff realized that a patron with a similar last name must have checked it out. Sure enough, the owner of the money was located… and the lender extended the due date to let the patron who requested the book have a turn reading it!

My worst ILL story was when book borrowed from a library in another state disappeared on the way back to the lender. We received an invoice for over two thousand dollars! We lucked out because the lender had quoted the price for a different edition of the item. In the end, we paid well over a thousand dollars less than the original bill.

My favorite ILL tip:

Keep lines of communication open between borrowing and lending libraries. Let lenders know as soon as possible if borrowed items arrive damaged or if items return damaged after patron use. The trust we develop between Interlibrary Loan departments really pays off when problems arise.

My ILL pet peeve and a solution:

Items sent back to lenders without paperwork. When the original sheet gets lost it’s easy to print a new sheet from WorldShare.


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