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>From: ziayaa           Thu Feb 02 15:58:34 1995
>To: [log in to unmask]@
>Dear Medlib Friends--
>     Today one of my physicians sent down a bibliography and told my staff to,
>"Get them all".   Ten articles can be copied from our collection, but the
>other 42 are textbooks.  In other words, we'd have to request the loan of 42
>originals.  I think this is unreasonable, but I don't have a policy in place
>to cover such a situation.
>
>     How would you handle?  Thanks for the help.
>
>Alana Ziaya, Medical Library Manager
>Marshfield Clinic
>1000 N. Oak Ave.
>Marshfield  WI 54449
>715-387-5183 (voice)    Internet: [log in to unmask]
>
You have my sympathies!  I had a physician who is writing a review article,
and requested over 200 interlibrary loan articles this summer...  I don't
think you can arbitrarily set a limit on the number of items you can request
for a client; if the person is doing research s/he may very well NEED all 42
references to do the background work properly!  What you can do is explain
that first of all, it's going to take time to locate, request and receive
everything -- it isn't physically possible to have all 42 items in their
hands by tomorrow.  Spread your requests around so as not to overburden your
library partners (call us if you want; our lending policies are lenient).
The other big factor may be money -- if you have to pay $8-10 dollars apiece
for the loans, you've eaten up a big chunk of your ILL budget for one patron
and that isn't fair.  Our review-writer was very reasonable when we
explained to him about libraries charging for loans, and that our budget
just wouldn't cover that level of expenditure.  We got everything we could
for him for free, and then he paid for the articles we were charged for --
to the tune of almost $400.00.  Perhaps if you offer that sort of
compromise, your patron will either decide s/he doesn't in fact need all 42,
or you'll get some reimbursement.  We're
not exactly overstaffed here either (2 full-time professionals. Period), but
by requesting a couple dozen articles at a time, we got them all over a
period of eight weeks or so (again, a reasonable compromise in view of the
volume) without sending me (the ILL librarian) to the nuthouse.
 
I just don't think we can be the arbiters of what our clientele needs --
they are.  We're here to provide a service, and to do it as cost-effectively
and efficiently as we can.  But there is some wiggle room to provide
top-notch service without being doormats.  Besides, I  rather _like_
impressing these demanding clients -- you never know when they might turn
around and be demanding on your behalf (our library got moved from a
basement to a bigger space with a view! thanks to a vocal doc with some
clout!).  Good luck!