Reflections on ILDS 2017

Reflections on ILDS 2017

I recently returned from the 2017 Interlending & Document Supply Conference (ILDS). I always enjoy ILDS because it is the only time I get to see some of my non-US friends and get out of my American bubble. This year’s conference was no exception. I reconnected with my Italian friends, made new “in real life” friends from around the world, and saw more of my American friends than expected too.

In addition to wonderful people, there were interesting and informative programs. Here are just a few of the highlights.

Stephen Wyber filled us in on IFLA‘s activities and the important role of resource sharing in their efforts. We are the ones that can provide them with the front line stories of how copyright inhibits information sharing.

I learned more about Open Access Button development efforts from Joseph McArthur. This work has the potential to greatly enhance library services around discovery and delivery. I’m really excited about the possibilities!

There were several presentations around collection strategies, particularly regarding faculty involvement, that were really helpful to work currently happening at my library. I hope to adapt a lot of what Micquel Little and David McCaslin shared for my own environment. You can find David’s paper here.

I also enjoyed hearing Giovanna Colombo talk about NILDE‘s international ILL survey, which was similar to surveys conducted by the ALA RUSA STARS International ILL Committee. (I was involved with the Committee’s first two surveys.) There were many similarities in the issues identified. Some problems are universal! You can find the slides from Giovanna’s presentation on the NILDE blog.

Overall, a very successful conference in one of my favorite cities.

If you’re interested in what I talked about, you can find my paper and presentation in IUPUI ScholarWorks.





Open access isn’t the end of resource sharing

Originally published on the IUPUI University Library Center for Digital Scholarship blog, April 19, 2016,

IUPUI University Library’s mission is to Inform, Connect, and Transform. The work I do as a resource sharing librarian is the literal fulfillment of our mission to Connect. My entire career as a librarian has focused on providing our users with access to the information resources they need to be successful in their teaching, research, and learning. I am, in fact, a self-proclaimed librarian devoted to resource sharing. As such, my interest in open access is no surprise. Though some have heralded open access as the death knell of our oldest resource sharing service, interlibrary loan (ILL), I believe it enhances my ability to connect University Library’s users to information. Open access isn’t the end of resource sharing; it is resource sharing.

The amount of information available is overwhelming, and it can be difficult for people to locate what they need even if it is open access. Resource sharing practitioners have a role to play in helping library users navigate this vast universe of possible sources. If we are thoughtful in our approach, we have the opportunity to capture the benefits of open access for our ILL operations and to educate our users about the changing nature of scholarly publishing. Facilitating discovery of open access materials should be one more tool in the resource sharing toolbox.

To learn more about the intersections of open access and interlibrary loan, check out Tina’s works on the topic in IUPUI ScholarWorks.

A Ten Year Odyssey

Thursday marked ten years as a librarian at IUPUI University Library (UL). In fact, it marked ten years as a librarian period. This milestone seems like an appropriate time for reflection.

Like many librarians I talk to, I didn’t set out with the intention of becoming a librarian. While in graduate school, a friend told me about the dual degree program that would allow me to earn my MA in Public History and an MLS at the same time. The real attraction for me was that the dual degree meant two more years of structured classes rather than two years of unstructured thesis writing. I was working full-time, and this dual degree option seemed more feasible and achievable for me. I still didn’t think I would ever work as a librarian.

How quickly your life plan can change. I will be forever grateful to that grad school friend. During my second year of library science classes, I quit my full-time job and started an internship in the Indiana State Library‘s Manuscripts Section, which seemed a great combination of public history and library science. Maybe I could be an archivist or manuscripts librarian. I also got a graduate assistant position at UL in Reference and Interlibrary Services. And that was it.

In interlibrary loan, I found my place. I was providing a much needed service and satisfying my love of mystery at the same time. (Finding an item to fulfill an interlibrary loan request can be real detective work.) The work of interlibrary loan (and resource sharing more broadly) reflects my belief in the intrinsic value of service and learning. It is also a perfect platform for some of my skills and traits — attention to detail, organization and logistics, problem-solving, ability to learn new technologies. The evolving landscape of resource sharing gives me the opportunity to be innovative and take part in new and interesting projects, which is important for someone who can bore easily. My involvement in resource sharing has also led me to take a broader view of collection management and sparked an interest in shared collections (just another form of resource sharing in my opinion).

IUPUI University Library has also been a good fit for me. There is a culture here that embraces innovation and experimentation and allows for failure. My role at UL has evolved as well. I was initially hired as the Visiting Interlibrary Loan Librarian, supervising Interlibrary Services. Over time, Interlibrary Services grew and became an independent department named Resource Sharing & Delivery Services in recognition of the services we offer beyond interlibrary loan. Plus, many of you may not know that I’ve also been a long-time member of the Bibliographic & Metadata Services department. What began as an original cataloging assignment expanded to include metadata librarian and eventually department head. These diverse responsibilities have kept things interesting. Variety, as they say, is the spice of life.

I’ve grown a lot over the last decade. I found a field that I believe in and love. I’ve made a difference for my library and, I hope, the resource sharing community at large. I have more belief in my own abilities and expertise and am much more comfortable speaking in front of groups. Service and learning continue to be core to who I am, but the importance of making significant contributions and giving back has grown. I’ve received so much support and encouragement over the past ten years, and now is the time to start paying it forward. As I begin to look ahead at the next ten years, I won’t even hazard a guess at what they might hold, but I hope resource sharing, in all its forms, continues to be a prominent part of the picture.

A Whirlwind IFLA Experience

A Whirlwind IFLA Experience

As a way of processing what felt like a whirlwind IFLA experience, or perhaps a marathon, I want to capture some of my thoughts and impressions here. My IFLA experience began with a trip to one of my favorite cities, Washington DC, for the Document Delivery & Resource Sharing Section‘s Satellite Meeting. I was there solely as an attendee, which is a rarity for me these days, but definitely a welcome change. The program was full of great programs, but two stood out for me because I found connections with my own work.

First was a presentation from Silvana Mangiaracina and Emanuela Secinaro on their research into whether Italian library users are using social media to obtain articles rather than the library and, more specifically, NILDE, the Italian interlibrary loan network. It was exciting to see similar research being done in another country, especially since the findings were the same. ILL is alive and well!

The second was a presentation from Megan Gaffney who reported on her initial efforts to investigate ILL between the US and Latin America. It was fascinating to hear how ILL services are perceived by Latin American countries, and one of the survey responses Megan mentioned gave me inspiration for a future project. More on that at a later date.

After a quick pit stop to repack, I drove to Columbus, Ohio, for the main event, the 2016 IFLA World Library & Information Congress. I had never been to a Congress before and am so grateful I had the opportunity thanks to a US National Committee Fellowship. It was especially humbling to learn that 3,300 people from around the world applied for the 180 fellowships awarded.

I tried to hit all the highlights of an IFLA Congress — fellow program, US Caucus, Newcomers Session, Opening Session, Exhibit Hall, and Cultural Evening. I also saw many interesting and thought-provoking presentations by librarians from nearly every continent. I learned more about copyright and attempts at reform in four different countries; interlibrary loan in the Republic of Korea and Italy; how six librarians in four different countries have handled weeding; the ISSN International Centre‘s efforts to address scholarly publishing ethics and the changing information environment; and the current status of the new ISO ILL standard (ISO 18626).

However, what struck me most about IFLA was the atmosphere, the eagerness and delight of everyone to connect and share with other librarians despite cultural differences and language barriers, and most of all, how the issues we face are often the same whether we are from Indiana or Uganda.

Profiles in Resource Sharing

I was recently the subject of the Journal of Interlibrary Loan, Document Delivery & Resource Sharing‘s “Profiles in Resource Sharing” column. Ryan Litsey, the journal’s Associate Editor, sent me a list of questions. Below are my answers for those who (like me!) don’t have subscription access.

Tell us who you are and who you work for.
Tina Baich. I am the Head of Resource Sharing & Delivery Services and Bibliographic & Metadata Services at IUPUI University Library.

How long have you been in resource sharing?
I began my resource sharing career as a Graduate Assistant in the Interlibrary Services department at IUPUI University Library (UL) in the fall of 2005. When I graduated from library school, UL was hiring a visiting librarian to supervise interlibrary loan, and I got the job. I’ve been a librarian at UL for nearly 10 years now. Though my responsibilities have increased over the years, I continue to be responsible for interlibrary loan and related resource sharing services.

What is it about resource sharing you like the most?
I’ve always been a mystery lover, and resource sharing immediately appealed to that part of me. From the time I was a graduate assistant processing requests, I’ve always loved the puzzle that difficult requests present. Interlibrary loan requires detective skills and nothing beats solving the mystery.

As my responsibilities have taken me away from day to day processing, I’ve come to love the comradery of the resource sharing community and the opportunities to share knowledge and help others improve their resource sharing abilities (and detective skills).

What was your most proud moment in resource sharing?
Honestly, I am proud and humbled to have been selected by my peers to receive the 2016 Virginia Boucher-OCLC Distinguished ILL Librarian Award. It is hugely gratifying to know that my colleagues recognize my devotion to resource sharing and the efforts I have made to have an impact on the community. This honor narrowly surpasses the pride I felt in being elected Vice-Chair/Chair-Elect of ALA RUSA STARS and entrusted with leading the national organization that represents the resource sharing community.

What was the most difficult item you have gotten for a patron?
The international resource sharing community and their willingness to share with us constantly amaze me. I’ve been able to locate and obtain items from around the world for our users by going outside our normal OCLC channels. One item that sticks out in my mind is a book we borrowed from a university in Estonia back in 2008. It was hard to track down, and it brought a huge feeling of success when the library actually sent it!

What is unique about your resource sharing operation?
I don’t know if it is really unique, but my library places enormous value on resource sharing services and recognizes the important role they play in providing our users with access to the information they need. This gives me the support I need try new and innovative services and the freedom to make changes to improve our existing services.

What piece of advice would you give to a new ILL librarian?
Get connected. Successful resource sharing is built on relationships. Join e-mail discussion lists. Attend conferences. Look for any and every opportunity to connect with the resource sharing community. I wouldn’t be where I am today without the collaboration, input, and friendship of my resource sharing colleagues.

Required acknowledgement: This is a preprint of an article submitted for consideration in the Journal of Interlibrary Loan, Document Delivery & Resource Sharing 2016 Ryan Litsey & Tina Baich; Journal of Interlibrary Loan, Document Delivery & Resource Sharing is available online at The published version of this article is available at

Research Evolution

Research Evolution

In the spirit of my last post, I’d like to share an exercise I did in preparation for a recent mentoring meeting. The topic of the meeting was how to generate topics or identify areas of interest and whether I thought a librarian’s publications should have a thematic direction or consistency.

That is a conversation demanding preparation or at least a little self-reflection. I started by printing out the publications portion of my CV and categorizing them. There is a little variation, but two distinct categories did emerge: (1) open access and interlibrary loan and (2) international interlibrary loan. Then I tried to think back, back, back to the days when I was just starting as a professional librarian. How did the beginning shape where I am now?

When I became a librarian, the thought of doing research with a capital R wasn’t appealing and was, in fact, a little intimidating. With the help of my then boss, I started out doing presentations of practical advice for interlibrary loan (ILL) practitioners instead. That evolved into an interest in web-based ILL finding aids and teaching others the tools I found to locate difficult requests. Then I got involved in the ALA RUSA STARS International Interlibrary Loan Committee, which accounts for one of my publication categories, but also expanded my previous finding aid work to include international publications.

All of this interest in finding aids logically evolved into an interest in open access. What could be better than helping people locate where a thing is? Well, helping people locate the actual thing, of course. Eventually, I started integrating my library’s request data into my open access and interlibrary loan presentations, which in turn led to a body of writing on the topic that might even be consider Research.

Through this thought exercise, I learned about myself and was able to help a mentee. The prospect of generating topics that will interest both you and your potential audience can be intimidating, but the ideas will come. Take time to reflect on your daily work and find the things that matter to you. Start presenting. Have conversations. Let your interests evolve. Start writing. You never know when you may even see a thematic direction emerge that you never would have anticipated.