1. Introduction

The National Library of Australia has provided interlibrary loan and document delivery (ILL/DD) services since its inception in 1960. These services are provided to libraries and organisations, as well as to individuals, both in Australia and overseas. Copies and loans are generally supplied from the Library’s own collections. The Library also offers mediated services to obtain copies and loans from other institutions on behalf of requesters. All services are provided on a cost-recovery basis.

The Library participates in the Australian Interlibrary Resource Sharing code through the Australian Library and Information Association (ALIA). The Library also endorses the National and State Libraries Australasia (NSLA) Collaborative Lending Principles.

2. Policy Aims

This policy aims to provide a statement of the Library’s current approach to the provision of interlibrary loan and document delivery services.

Policy drivers for providing interlibrary loan and document delivery services are:

Access to the Library’s collection

The National Library Act 1960 (Cth) gives the Library a mandate to collect documentary resources for the nation and make them accessible. This is supported by the strategic priority in the Library’s Corporate Plan to connect communities with their national collections.

Preservation of the Library’s collection

The National Library Act 1960 (Cth) also stipulates that the Library is to ensure its collection is preserved. Supplying a digital copy in lieu of a physical loan is one strategy in the Library’s preventative preservation program as physical access to vulnerable material is minimised.

Access to national collections

The Library may facilitate access to the collections elsewhere in Australia through brokering interlibrary loan and document delivery requests. Collaboration in library matters is stipulated in the National Library Act 1960 (Cth) and constitutes a strategic priority for the Library in its Corporate Plan.

3. Definitions

Document delivery (DD)

The provision of a print or digital reproduction of a library item, with no loan period applied, and which is not intended to be returned to the lending institution.

Interlibrary loan (ILL)

The lending of a library collection item, regardless of format, which must be returned to the lending institution at the conclusion of the loan period. This includes copies that are made specifically for loan purposes, which must be returned (copies for loan).

4. Policy statement

The National Library is the largest net lender in Australia for interlibrary loan and document delivery services, and has efficient workflows and systems in place to service requests. The Library also services requests from overseas libraries and institutions, and facilitates requests for material beyond the Library’s own collection.

In providing this service, the Library will:

  • Use a ‘digital-first’ approach, with digital copies supplied in lieu of loans as much as possible. This will increase the amount of digitised content available online for the benefit of all Australians through Trove. Digital-first approaches will also minimise the despatch costs incurred by the Library, and the risk of material being damaged or lost in transit.
  • Continue to service both libraries and institutions, as well as individual requesters. The Library sees value in providing the Copies Direct service to requesters seeking copies of its collection material as a strategic service to increase access to the national collection. Integrating the Copies Direct requesting mechanism into the Library’s discovery platforms, namely the catalogue and Trove, streamlines the process of finding and obtaining items.
  • Continue to service both Australian and overseas requesters.
  • Adhere to the provisions in the Copyright Act 1968 (Cth) governing ILL/DD services and copyright exceptions.
  • Adhere to terms and conditions in license agreements for electronic resources.
  • Adhere to the access conditions set by donors for donated items.
  • Adhere to the terms and conditions of use for items deposited through National edeposit (NED).
  • Respect cultural sensitivities when supplying loans or copies. The Library also endeavours to provide cultural sensitivity warnings when supplying loans or copies so appropriate cultural protocols can be followed by requesters.
  • Operate the services on a cost recovery basis. This includes both requesting charges and freight costs. The Library does not profit on ILL/DD charges, in accordance with the requirements of the Copyright Act 1968 (Cth).
  • Endeavour to operate efficient digital-first services to minimise charges for requesters which at times could become barriers to access. The Library works transparently with requesters to agree on charges upfront as required.
  • Endeavour to be an active participant in and supporter of resource sharing protocols in Australia
  • Be supported by other collection management functions in the Library, notably collection care and description, to keep bibliographic and holdings metadata up-to-date in the national bibliographic database.

5. Key roles and responsibilities

NLA Executive

Approval of the Interlibrary Loan and Document Delivery Policy

Assistant Director-General, Collaboration Branch

Broad responsibility for the implementation of the Policy

Director, Digitisation Section

Operational responsibility for the implementation of the Policy

Assistant Director, Digitisation on Demand

Operational oversight of the ILL/DD services and Policy

6. Key outcome(s) and output(s)

What are the key outcome(s) and output(s)?

KPIs measuring usage and cost-recovery of ILL/DD services are reported to senior management under the Library’s corporate governance framework.

7. Implementation process

How will we implement this policy?

The Interlibrary Loan and Document Delivery Policy will be implemented through the ILL/DD activities carried out in the Library, mainly by the Digitisation Section.

ILL/DD availability and conditions of supply are specified in the service conditions for Digitisation on Demand Services to Libraries and Digitisation on Demand Services to Individuals.

8. Revision

This policy is reviewed every two years.

9. References and related documents

What are the key references for this policy?

The following documents and/or legislation were considered when developing this policy

  • National Library Act 1960 (Cth)
  • Copyright Act 1968 (Cth)
  • National Library of Australia Corporate Plan (2019-2020)
  • NSLA Collaborative Lending Principles
  • Australian Interlibrary Resource Sharing (ILRS) Code