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For Immediate Release: April 8, 2008
Contact: Mary Stadick Smith - (605) 773-7228

State Library Board approves plan to bolster interlibrary loan

To help local libraries play a more active role in providing interlibrary loan service to patrons across the state, the South Dakota State Library will absorb some of the costs of the service. The South Dakota State Library Board voted to approve a three-point interim plan to encourage local libraries to participate in the interlibrary loan system.

Under its strategic plan, the State Library has placed its primary emphasis on assisting local libraries in providing top-quality services to local patrons and providing more electronic resources relevant in today’s technology age. This also means the State Library has played less of a role in the interlibrary loan process. “Many libraries have willingly stepped in to help fill this void,” explained State Librarian Dan Siebersma. “Others, for a variety of reasons, have been reluctant to do so. As a result, interlibrary loan availability throughout South Dakota is uneven.”

The board voted to take immediate short-term action to fund the current interlibrary loan system, as the State Library seeks a long-term solution to the problem. “The ultimate solution to this problem will require a re-thinking and overhaul of the entire ILL system,” Siebersma said. “But I believe it is also important to take some short-term actions to shore up and improve the current system while we work on its new-and-improved replacement.”

The interim plan involves the following three steps:

--The South Dakota State Library will absorb the full cost of the current courier delivery contract. This will free up some local money, especially in some of the larger libraries, to help compensate them for the extra ILL costs they are now covering.

--The State Library will establish a fund to subsidize mailing costs for local libraries that utilize the U.S. mail for ILL lending purposes. This will help speed up delivery by avoiding delays caused by local libraries sending materials to the State Library for distribution via ILL, rather than directly to the libraries requesting the material.

--The State Library will establish a fund to “hold harmless” local libraries that cannot recover the costs of lost materials from patrons.

Funds for the first two steps will come from the federal Library Services and Technology Act grant. A source for lost materials has not yet been determined.

The plan will remain in place as the State Library pursues a long-term solution. It will be evaluated annually.