While scrolling through Instagram a few weeks ago, I saw that Whitney, a friend who lives on the East Coast, had a book recommendation posted on her “Stories.” She shared a photo of the cover and a few brief comments, nothing fancy, but it was enough to hook me. Never mind that I had three partially-read books on my nightstand and two more in the queue on my iPad – I wanted to check out this novel and see why Whitney enjoyed it so much.
I opened my web browser, typed in the Library website, and entered the book title in the catalog search box at the top. Sadly, the results didn’t include my sought-after book… but luckily, I spotted (and clicked) the “Item not found?” link in the top right corner of the page.
A new page titled, “We’ll Get It For You!” popped open. I was thrilled to read about two alternate options for acquiring this book: interlibrary loan and “suggest a purchase.” Before requesting that the Library add a new item to our local collection, I decided to browse through the interlibrary loan search, named Prospector, to see if I could track down my book.
Prospector is a union catalog of nearly 200 public, academic, and special libraries in Colorado and Wyoming. Patrons can search for items among a collection of almost 30 million, make a request, and then patiently await a regional courier service that brings the item to the Estes Valley Library.
I typed my book title in the Prospector search bar, found that it is currently circulating in several library collections across the state, and requested that one be “shared” with me. The next week, I got an email (and a new text notification!) that my book was ready to be picked up. It was easy, free, and extremely convenient.
Now, true to form, I am still reading several books, which means I haven’t finished this interlibrary loan title. The original due date approached much more quickly than I anticipated and I wasn’t ready to return the novel. Thankfully, interlibrary loan includes an auto-renewal, so I was able to continue borrowing the book. I now have until the end of the month to finish reading. Whew!
When it’s time to return the book, I won’t have to make any special arrangements. I’ll just drop it off like any other item, and the Patron Services team here at the Library will take care of the rest. It really doesn’t get easier than that.
Interlibrary loan is available to all cardholders. I hope you’ll join me in using it! Learn more and search for your next read at estesvalleylibrary.org.