In March 2020, libraries all across the world unexpectedly shut down in response to the COVID19 pandemic. But the research needs of our patrons didn’t stop. The FAU Libraries have been working almost entirely remotely since March 19, 2020, striving to provide services to our students and faculty non-stop, through online guides, virtual office hours, access to electronic content, online tutorials, and some focused in-person services, such as checking out laptops or wifi hotspots to students in need. Many of these services are outlined in our Lib2 Guide.
When libraries around the world shut down due to the pandemic, the network that has been built up over decades to share books and other materials between libraries on behalf of their patrons also shut down. Under pre-COVID19 conditions, the FAU Libraries Interlibrary Loan (ILL) Department took pride in going the extra mile to obtain materials from all over the world for FAU’s faculty and students, including from all seven continents. It’s a testament to just how good our ILL staff are that we have had to explain to some faculty why we could no longer get that book they wanted from a library in Spain! While our staff are amazing, they haven’t yet figured out how to get books from closed libraries on the other side of the world.
Our ILL staff developed innovative programming to increase awareness and use of ILL among FAU’s graduate and undergraduate students, as well as faculty.
We also took pride in being able to lend out materials to other libraries around the world, being a “net lender” and contributing to one of the most effective worldwide collaborative ventures in the history of libraries.
With the pandemic shutting down libraries worldwide, the ILL community quickly organized across different social platforms to continue providing research materials to our patrons. FAU’s ILL staff have been part of making sure that people continued to have access to the scholarly content they need, in spite of libraries of all types being closed.
Since mid-March, they have filled hundreds of digital chapter and article requests for the FAU community, scanned scores of articles and book chapters located in our stacks for faculty, and have also provided digital materials to partner libraries and local, state, and Federal agencies (including the FDA).
With most of the world’s libraries closed, it has been challenging to find libraries who can fill some of our digital borrowing requests, but they have. The staff liken themselves to ILL Commandoes, doing what needs to be done to get what our patrons need.
While we have excellent collections of e-books, e-journals, and databases, we recognize that not everything is available electronically. For this reason, we have also provided curbside pickup of books located in our stacks in the Boca library to faculty who fill out an online request using ILLiad.
Patrons search the catalog on the home page, find titles they want, request them using ILLiad, our ILL staff find the books in the stacks, check them out remotely to the requester, and then make appointments to deliver them to patrons three times a week.
This service is now being expanded to FAU’s undergraduate and graduate students. Requests can be made by following the instructions on this page. For now, this service is only available in Boca and only draws on the books in the Boca campus library.
The ILL Commandoes stand ready to help anyone who needs help! Email them at firstname.lastname@example.org