Colleges open libraries to neighboring students

By: | Issue: March, 2018
February 16, 2018

Sharing resources among campuses makes sense for more than economical reasons, as colleges are finding these opportunities can better serve busy students.

Students at neighboring Cornell University and Ithaca College can now borrow materials from the libraries on either campus.

It is a natural extension of the institutions’ long-standing interlibrary loan program, says Wendy Wilcox, access services librarian at Cornell’s Olin, Kroch and Uris libraries.


Sidebar: Well-established interlibrary loan partners


Students under pending assignment deadlines who don’t want to wait for books to be transferred will have access much more quickly if they travel a few miles to retrieve the volumes in person, says Wilcox. Students can return materials to either library, as there is a mailing system already in place.

The university also participates in a 13-institution interlibrary loan system.

“We find the biggest hurdle is negotiating differences in rules and policies,” says Caitlin Finlay, Cornell’s head of interlibrary services.

Granting all-access library cards was the simplest way to integrate the schools. “Once we established the theory that a library card holder would now be a member of our patron community, it was easy to move ahead with the agreements,” Finley says.

Going forward, campus libraries may be only one part of a larger loaning community, says Bernard N. Hogben, access services manager for Ithaca College Library.

South Central Regional Library Counsel, a local library consortium, is working on a regionwide library card that allows the general public to borrow from participating public and academic libraries.