What are libraries best known for? The willingness to share, of course! This month we are looking at COLLABORATIONS!
- THE PRIME DIRECTIVE – To establish and expand your network of colleagues.
- Become involved in library organizations on all levels – locally, statewide, nationally, and internationally.
- Get to know the librarians whose organizations are located near your own organization.
- To the extent your employer allows, be willing to share advice and resources with all of your colleagues.
- Modern-day tools, like e-mail, discussion lists, and scanning, not to mention FedEx and UPS, are making sharing a lot easier.
- Do your homework before requesting a loan – if possible:
- Make sure you have the full bibliographic record for the item you are looking for.
- Find out how quickly your client needs the item and plan accordingly.
- Determine which libraries may have the item you are looking for.
- Only contact one library at a time – wait until you hear back from that library before contacting another.
- Once you find a library willing to loan the item, arrange with the librarian how to pick up the item or have the item sent.
- Determine any additional costs involved and relay that information to your client.
- Try to limit your use of discussion lists to request interlibrary loans of materials, especially for those items that are commonly available.
- If you are looking for a section from a treatise, consider using online resources that you have available that have tables of contents.
- If you are looking for an article, check the Internet to see whether the article might be available for free or for a reasonable fee online.
- Be aware of all the cost involved in getting a document: your billable time, messenger and/or delivery costs, document retrieval costs (typically, $20-40 for a journal article, $50-$200 for a court filing)
- Set a reasonable due date and be willing to extend the loan, if the item is not immediately needed by your own clients.
- Be sure to note that the loan is subject to recall, in the event that your own client needs it back.
- If the book needs to be sent by a delivery service such as FedEx or UPS, consider asking the borrower to provide their company’s account number for the charge.
- If a library only needs a section from a treatise, consider scanning and sending a PDF of the section, rather than loaning the entire book.
- Always be aware of copyright restrictions.
- Imagine what it would be like if you were in the shoes of your colleague who is asking for help.
- Be an active participant in discussion lists.
- Be considerate and respectful of others when posting to discussion lists.
- Be sensitive to your own employer’s policies and procedures concerning interactions with others outside of your own organization.
- Consider being a MENTOR (hint-hint) for your colleagues who are new to the profession – you have a lot to share!
SLA Legal Division Mentoring Committee Chair