I read a short post by Miss Information this morning, basically it’s a short snippy comment to everyone who must have a copy of the Hunger Games – RIGHT NOW!!!!! because the movie is out. This happens whenever any movie comes out and while I’m certainly guilty of wanting to read the book when I hear about a movie I’ve long since learned how to use a holds list. [BTW, if you haven’t seen the Hunger Games yet, it is excellent and I highly recommend it. Also, when you get a chance take a look at Hunger is Not a Game initiative with Hunger Games fans and the Harry Potter Alliance]
Since I work in ILL though, I tend to get grumpy when the fortieth or fiftieth or umpteenth request comes through for a book that 1) I know we probably will not get because they will be in use and 2) even if we do get it – it will be either a) recalled the instant we’ve finished processing it or b) come no renewals and we will have to send several renewal denied requests to the patron in an effort to get the book back. I understand the value of reading for pleasure, and I’m not above using the ILL system to get books for that purpose from time to time through work.
However, for popular fiction I truly believe that the public library is a better choice than an academic library (see Dos and Don’ts of Interlibrary Loan for more on that). As it is we send the request out to a string of 10 lenders or so (most of whom have already noticed this book is a very popular item and have stopped lending it outside the library for a time) and cancel the request. Cancelled requests leave everyone unhappy. Does anyone know of a partnership between a university and a nearby public library to encourage patrons to use the public library for pleasure reading sources? Should academic libraries carry a greater number of high demand books or just buy them on demand for patrons? I would love to hear more about how your library handles ILLs or referrals for popular fiction titles.