Ponoka library lends the only copy of a book in Canada

This week's library column looks at the potential of borrowing books from other libraries.

Looking for something but can’t find it in our library? Libraries have a basic responsibility for the development and maintenance of their collection. However, a prevailing fact for all libraries is that no library can own everything required by a varied clientele. It would be impossible to house that size of a collection not to mention the expense it would incur. Interlibrary loan (ILL), the exchange of resources between libraries, provides access to other library collections. Resource sharing is a key priority for public libraries in Alberta and strengthens public library service to Albertans by increasing the range of materials available for borrowing. The province funds a catalogue that allows Albertans to search all public (and most academic) libraries at once. Through the Interlibrary Loan service, library cardholders in good standing have access to library holdings across the province and Canada giving them the ability to place a request on materials not available at their local libraries.

Any borrowed book or item that comes from another library outside of the Parkland Regional Library system is considered an interlibrary loan. Patrons must check the Parkland Regional Library’s catalogue first to determine if the item is available from our collection prior to making an interlibrary loan request to borrow from other libraries. Service will be provided as quickly as possible, however waiting times vary depending upon several factors such as the availability of the item, shipping and transit time. On average it takes about two weeks for your interlibrary loan request to arrive, however, it can take up to eight weeks or more to complete your request. Patron notification by telephone or email takes place once the item has been received by our library. Prompt pick-up ensures that you will have the maximum borrowing time. Renewals are granted at the discretion of the library which lent the item to us and a request for a renewal needs to be placed before the due date.

Although there is a very high likelihood you can find and request almost any book you are looking for, it depends on the publication date of the book and the availability. Most libraries will not ordinarily lend old, rare, or valuable material, reference and genealogical material, material in high demand at the lending library (i.e. current bestsellers) or curriculum material, including textbooks. If the search in Alberta is exhaustive, we will then search all of Canada for the desired item. It is interesting sometimes where a book has been located in Canada and then sent to us, or vice versa. We have filled a request for a book from Prince Edward Island, we were the only library in Canada to have a copy it.

To search our catalogue visit our webpage at ponokalibrary@prl.ab.ca. If you need assistance finding an item you are looking for, please drop into the library and our staff will be happy to help.