Editor’s note: This article was initially published in The Daily Gazette, Swarthmore’s online, daily newspaper founded in Fall 1996. As of Fall 2018, the DG has merged with The Phoenix. See the about page to read more about the DG.
McCabe’s Inter-Library Loan Office, a program that allows students and faculty to borrow material outside of the Consortium, sees a sharp increase in activity this time of year as frantic students search for various sources to finish final papers. One Gazette reader recently asked whether the library paid any fee for borrowed items.
Interlibrary Loan Coordinator, Sandy Vermeychuk, says the library doesn’t pay per book. Instead, the college pays significant membership fees to remain within certain borrowing networks of outside universities, museums, and other external academic resources.
Membership fees range in the thousands and increase slightly every year. The benefit is the ability of the College to easily request material from various sources without requiring any paperwork from students.
Some suppliers also charge additional fees for certain items, which fluctuate depending on the lender, said Vermeychuk. Harvard libraries, for example, charge $25 for any material sent, be it a one-paged article or some heavy tome.
Regular baseline costs for shipping and packaging also apply with every loan.
Fortunately for us tight-budgeted college students, the library absorbs these costs. “The entire cost of ILL is part of the library budget and is never passed along to patrons,” said Vermeychuk.