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Library gets new loan service

Just before school started this semester, Warner Library added a new system called PALCI E-Z Borrow that makes interlibrary book loans quick and easy.

PALCI is an online catalog that allows users to search over 50 member colleges and universities for books.

“It’s much more self-service oriented,” said Dan Iddings, PALCI executive director.

According to reader service librarian Jodi Van Meter, users can directly order books online instead of going through the librarians in the traditional interlibrary loan.

“With PALCI you are more in control,” Van Meter said.

The loaned books typically arrive at the library within four to five business days.

“The problem [with traditional interlibrary loans] is they’ve always been very slow,” said Jim Sauer, library director.

“E-Z Borrow has made a quantum jump for us.”

In order to borrow a book, the user locates the book on the search engine, which can be accessed through the E-Z Borrow button on the library webpage, and hits the Request button.

Then an email is sent to the user as soon as the book arrives at the library. Books can be borrowed for four weeks, and can be renewed for an additional four weeks. There is no cost to the user except the usual late fees.

The system is also a good deal for the library.

“You’re getting a 36 million book library for less than a penny a book,” Sauer said.

Currently, only books can be borrowed through PALCI. Articles must be borrowed through the traditional interlibrary loan system, according interlibrary loan technician Ellen Mergner.

All the colleges and universities that participate in E-Z Borrow are located in Pennsylvania, except for Rutgers and the University of West Virginia, according to Iddings.

Although the service is new, it is becoming popular with the students.

There has been an increase in E-Z Borrow loans and a decrease in the traditional interlibrary loans, according to Mergner.

She predicted that use will continue to increase as students begin to write more papers.

Overall the library staff is very pleased with the addition.

“I think it’s the greatest thing since sliced bread,” Sauer said.

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