The following is a note on behalf of the staff of the Interlibrary Loan Service of Library and Archives Canada. I'm informed that in the absence of this service hundreds of requests for material previously handled by ILL are backed up.
The Interlibrary Loan Service of Library and Archives Canada closed last Friday, February 15 2013.Thanks to the staff members who provided this service, now terminated by the Harper government. That's Canada's Economic Action Plan at work for you.
We have been a major part of a 60-year tradition of helping Canadian libraries and their patrons gain access to Canadian publications. The National Library of Canada began sending information to other libraries about where to locate titles their clients were looking for in the early 1950's, when the National Union Catalogue began. Lending from our own collection came a little later; the National Librarian's annual report of 1960 states that in FY 1958-1959, the Library lent 150 items and answered 8,280 requests for locations. Thirty years later, we were handling 150,000 requests per year.
The ensuing decades saw breathtaking technological change, and the ILL services of the NLC, and later LAC, were early adopters. NLC began filling requests for journal articles in the 1960's, driving our use of photocopying, fax transmission and several methods of online delivery. The National Library led the way both nationally and internationally in coordinating the development of standards that, to this day, allow different ILL management systems to exchange requests and follow-up messages with minimal human intervention.
As AMICUS and other library catalogues became freely available online, the use of our locations service declined, and loans became the focus of our service. In fiscal year 2011-2012, LAC filled 21,294 requests for loans and copies from our collections, and provided locations in response to another 11,658 requests.
All of us are proud to have been part of this service. To our friends and colleagues, thank-you, good-bye and good luck.