Reference and User Services Association Online Course – Inside Interlibrary Loan: Basics for a New Millennium

October to November 2021

I am truly grateful for the opportunity to take this online course thanks to a CLRC Professional Development Award. During four weeks of online discussions and research, I learned about the history of interlibrary loan and codes, copyright compliance, ILL policies and procedures, and impacts on modern ILL services.

One of the most beneficial aspects of this course is the contacts that I made. Twenty-three other library associates from public and academic libraries all offered anecdotal evidence about what works and what does not work in their interlibrary loan departments. We openly talked about our workflows and policies and asked questions to prod further thought and troubleshooting. I digested ideas and wrote my final paper on a policy that I would like to revise: the limits of what returnables we loan.

Secondly, I was empowered to propose procedural changes to my colleagues that I believe will only enhance our operations and success. I hope that these changes also will serve as a model to inspire my ILL cohorts to do the same. Thanks to the suggested readings list as well as links that classmates shared, I now know where to access quantitative proof about how a successful interlibrary loan department (c)should adapt to a climate in which e-resources and pandemic angst take up the lion’s share of space in borrowers’ and institutions’ minds. The “College and Research Libraries” website ( is now a link in my ILL bookmarks folder. Another example of a way to improve our borrowing caused me to reflect on textbook requests: successfully borrowing textbooks through ILL is always a challenge so one person suggested Open Education Resources (OER).  Also, I was challenged to refine my search procedures with the help of a refined Google Scholar search, which has made me a more efficient lender. This benefits everybody as turn-around-time improves.

Again, thank you for helping me take this ALA course. I will definitely be taking more professional development courses that ALA continues to offer. I would be very happy to share my experience with this course if anybody expresses interest. I can be reached at

Michele Heintz

Interlibrary Loan Supervisor, LeMoyne College 

Are you interested in being our next Professional Development Award recipient? Check out the award page for the rules & requirements!