Inter-Library Loans: How to Expand Your Collection Without Spending Any $$

by Cathy Willis

At Napa Valley Unified we have had casual Inter-Library Loans (ILL) for the past few years that were handled on a school-to-school basis through emails. We found, however, that it would benefit everyone in our district to be able to exchange books. With the Follett Destiny ILL feature we have found how easy it is to place a request through holds. Until we get everyone used to responding to the little red alert flag we are following up with emails.

The benefits to ILL are that the students have access to a larger collection and they can request books that are higher or lower than the reading levels found at their school. I frequently ask my friend at the high school for YA or adult titles that we do not have at the middle school level. We transfer these books through the district mail service or personal delivery or pick up if you bring a cup of mocha or latte.

This feature is extremely beneficial to our students when working on research projects. If they find a title or subject needed from another school it is just a click away. I recently sent books to the high school for a genetics research project.

As a district we agreed not to request books that are in high demand such as those by Veronica Roth, Jeff Kinney and John Green.

Is your district using ILL? If so, what advantages or disadvantages have you discovered?

Cathy Willis

Cathy Willis

Cathy Willis has been the library technician at Harvest Middle School for the past 11 years. Prior to heading to middle school, she worked for five years at a K-6 school. Cathy was part of the NVUSD Textbook and Library Manager implementation projects and is currently the textbook team leader.

She collaborates with administration and Library Services for collection development for all district middle schools. Additionally, Cathy is the district data queen for Read 180! She has a passion for motivating children to read and loves to do Reader’s Advisory with her middle school students. Her husband is a retired airline pilot. a good thing because she loves to travel!

Do You Have Any Good Books?

I admit I have wanted to respond with a mean, smart-aleck remark when a student says, “I can’t find a good book,” or asks, ”Do you have any good books?”

However, I just smile and ask, “What do you like to read about? Let me help you find a ‘just right’ book.”

I might have to pry it out of them, but soon I know that Susie likes a book with bunnies in it and Josef likes sports, especially football. Annie wants to learn more about art and artists, and Sam, well, he really likes to read but loves to ride bikes and “are there any stories with bikes in them?”

How do I know which books will help spur these students on to a lifelong love of reading, and, in the process, learning and growing? Well, I’ve read almost all the books in the school library! Not a hardship for someone who loves reading and is hardly ever without a book.

I also arrange for an author to visit the school each year. We have assemblies, and I contact our local independent bookstore, Copperfield’s, to provide books for sale. You should see the children’s faces when they get their book personally autographed! In recent years we have invited Kate and Sarah Klise, Matthew Gollub, Megan McDonald, Daniel and Robert San Souci, Denys Cazet, Ed Emberley. This year Mac Barnett came, and all his books have been checked out every week since.

Some kids are easy. Give them a Melanie Watt or Mo Willems book, and then you see them head right for that shelf each visit until they’ve read them all. But what about that timid little girl who shrugs her shoulders and gives you a wide-eyed look? I receive great joy if I can get her to smile, perhaps with an Amy Krouse Rosanthal or Patrick McDonnel book. The greatest challenge is with the reluctant reader. I have had success recommending The Ballpark Mysteries by David A Kelly and The Hank Zipzer Series by Henry Winkler and Lin Oliver.

The Islander by Cynthia Rylant, The Legend of Spud Murphy by Eoin Colfer, and Granny Torrelli Makes Soup by Sharon Creech are the books I give to a child and say, “Read it. Trust me.” When they come back to me and say, “Do you have more like this?” that’s when I remember why I love my job.

Lorraine Moore

Lorraine Moore

Lorraine Moore

Lorraine was born and raised in Los Angeles and moved to Napa Valley with her husband in 1977, where they raised their two daughters. She started working for the local school district in 1988 as an instructional assistant and noon time yard supervisor. he added library clerk to her job duties in 1994. Working in the library is still the best part of her day!
Lorraine has run a summer reading program at her small school since 2004. Last year she had over 500 circulations and partners with the Napa County Library’s summer program. She is one of the more experienced clerks and often is asked to mentor new hires.