The Changing Roles of ILL Staff, Supply-Chain Management


Resource sharing has evolved over the past few decades into a new and almost entirely different system. The evolution has been due in large part to the influence of technology in changing student perceptions and interactions with the academic library. Technology has also opened up areas of opportunity for organizational and methodological changes. It is these organizational changes that serve as the crux of how we can adapt the existing interlibrary loan departments to serve the evolving resource-sharing needs of the modern library patron. In an era where patrons are able to discover, access, and request items in a seamless instant the necessity of resource-sharing units to respond to such pressures quickly and efficiently becomes paramount, and it is this process that begins to transform interlibrary loan units into resource-sharing units. In this changing climate it is helpful to construct an overarching methodology by which we can view the newly transformed resource-sharing units. No longer can we consider them as solely part of the library. We must view them as part of a large supply- chain system. This supply chain is the process that we use to get items we do not own and supply items to libraries that need our stuff. Thinking about interlibrary loan in this way can provide the newly evolved resource sharing into a methodological framework for understanding and confronting the changing landscape. If we choose to look at resource sharing in this manner it is important then to examine what is meant by supply-chain management. Supply- chain management is a concept borrowed from the business world. Simply put, it allows us to look at the world of resource sharing as a system, and within this system there are areas of inefficiency and areas of waste. It also helps us to conceptualize where we can improve, where we have little control and must therefore plan accordingly. It also allows us the tools to raise our heads up so to speak and examine the larger national and international systems at work in resource sharing. Much of interlibrary loan is often about the singular library: how the process is handled at your institution. This can no longer be the focus. We as resource-sharing professionals must take in the large landscape. How do the items we send to another school get there? How are they packaged? How do

Copyright © 2017 Ryan Litsey. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Resources Anytime, Anywhere ISBN 978-0-08-101989-4

we communicate our process to other institutions? Looking at the broader supply-chain forces the resource-sharing professional must consider the areas in which he or she may be bogging down the larger process. The question then remains: What is supply-chain management and how can it be applied to resource sharing/interlibrary loan?

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