As MSU and the library dealt with COVID-19 related closures across the US, Interlibrary Services continued to provide scans, interlibrary loans, and home delivery to our patrons. After Governor Whitmer’s stay-at-home order, it was deemed by the University that Interlibrary Services’ distance and electronic document delivery service were essential to maintaining MSU’s educational programs. ILS ceased most traditional interlibrary loan services and shifted attention to meeting the needs of faculty, staff, and students. What was once a service provided for a small group of online students was now open to the entire MSU population. ILS staff quickly modified operations to meet these new demands, moving from shipping a few books a week to over 200 a week during this difficult time.
With borrowing of print resources suspended, ILS staff never ceased receiving ILL requests from its users. The goal was to fill as many of these requests as possible. Working with Steve Sowards and the team of collections librarians, ILS was able to leverage its existing purchase-on-demand service to buy books in lieu of borrowing. Many thanks go out to Lisa Smith and Laura Carter for handling the influx of on-demand orders. Additionally, ILS staff helped guide our patrons to many of the emergency resources the library implemented, as well as arranging access with Hathi Trust to their digitized material.
When many libraries around the world were facing restricted access to their own collections - and with traditional interlibrary loan all but closed down - Interlibrary Services did what it could to meet the demands of our borrowing partners as well. ILS entered into agreement with the RAPID ILL group to expand our article lending to non-partner institutions. And because the print collection was still accessible to staff, ILS opened up scanning from print resources to borrowing libraries – something almost no other library was capable of during the crisis. Additional thanks go out to Josh Maki and Remote Storage staff for helping with this endeavor.
Finally, with the MSU Libraries working to provide valuable PPE equipment to people and hospitals around the country, ILS was able to utilize its infrastructure to help by mailing the masks, face shields, and 3D printing supplies provided by the MSU MakerSpace.