The Ithaca College Library has implemented a partnership with the Louis Jefferson Long Library at Wells College that allows students to directly borrow materials from either institution.
The service, which was first made available to students Sept. 14, is a direct borrowing reciprocal agreement through which students from the college and Wells College can borrow materials from both libraries. After a student fills out an application, their request is processed and the student’s ID card then gives them the ability to check out materials at the other college.
Bernard Hogben, manager of access services in the Ithaca College Library, said the college chose Wells College because he noticed that the library was requesting to borrow many books from Wells College through interlibrary loans. Users from Ithaca College have borrowed 26 items through interlibrary loans from Wells College in the past 12 months, Hogben said.
“If someone is using a database and types in a book … it gives them a list of libraries, and it might say Cornell or Wells College,” Hogben said. “It would give students another option.”
Wells College is a private college approximately 30 miles away in Aurora, N.Y., with about 500 full-time students. Carol Henderson, library director at Wells College, said via email that Wells chose to partner with Ithaca College for the convenience of their students.
“Ithaca College is nearby — close enough to be an easy trip for our students — and … the IC library’s collection is different from ours here at Wells to make it a valuable resource,” Henderson said.
Henderson said that in addition to students having access to a broader collection, they will not have to wait for an interlibrary loan and can get the materials for themselves immediately.
Senior Katie Evans said that if students are able to drive to Wells, it could be beneficial to them.
“It’s a good thing for people who have the time, … but I’m so busy all the time that the interlibrary loan is good enough,” Evans said
Senior Kyle Dandrea had similar concerns about the distance.
“I feel like it would take longer to drive there,” Dandrea said. “I’d go to the public library instead”
The college has a similar partnership with Cornell University, where students can apply for a Cornell borrower’s card and check materials out of its library directly. Hogben said that since the partnership began in January 2018, 42 users from the college have signed up for a Cornell borrower’s card and have checked out a total of 575 items.
Hogben said the library is looking into partnerships with other networks in order to give students, faculty and staff more options.
“We’re familiar with other academic libraries that do this, that set up these partnerships,” Hogben said. “Cornell has a very large network, and we would add to that network, so we’re definitely thinking about it.”
The new direct borrowing reciprocal agreement is not intended to replace the interlibrary loan system. Sarah Shank, interlibrary loan borrowing coordinator, says the interlibrary loan system can be very useful to students. She said the college library process about 7,000 requests for materials from many other libraries per year and approximately 90 percent of the time the library is able to get the requested materials.
“We go to a lot of different universities,” Shank said. “I think students assume we borrow most things from Cornell, but we do go to a lot of different universities, so Binghamton, quite a bit from Cortland. Usually, we try — especially with books — we try to go to regional libraries first.”
Senior Erin McGee said she prefers to use interlibrary loans.
“Interlibrary loan isn’t that inconvenient,” McGee said. “It’s pretty quick, so I think it’s better to use. It doesn’t hurt to have that with Wells though.”
Although more materials are available to students through other libraries, Hogben said the new partnerships have not changed what is available to students at the library.
“It’s just another option for students and faculty,” Hogben said. “If there’s something there that they want and they don’t want to wait for an interlibrary loan, they can drive there, get a car and get it right away.”
Hogben said the library will re-evaluate the program a year from now.
“From that point in time, we can review the service,” Hogben said. “Are people using it? Are they not using it? Do they know about it? Do they not know about it? It’ll be up for review.”