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The transportation of loans can be costly so Conarls' members have worked together to provide access to cheap arrangements, without prejudice to libraries' own requirements.

Currently most regions (excluding Ireland) have Agreements in place with a commercial supplier, DX. These Agreements provide for collection and next working day delivery of loans to most libraries in the UK at very economical rates. Areas excluded from the Agreements are:

  • Scilly Isles
  • Orkney
  • Shetland
  • Isle of Skye
  • Western Isles
  • Northern Ireland
  • Republic of Ireland
  • Any PO Box address
  • Any address outside the UK

For further information on transport facilities available to libraries, contact your local region.


Some of the more powerful tools available to the inter-library loans practitioner are union and virtual catalogues.

Union catalogues collect together records from many different catalogues into one central catalogue; catalogues of this type tend to be very quick, robust and easy to search, but will more than likely contain records that are somewhat out of date.

Virtual catalogues, by contrast, are search engines that search across many different catalogues simultaneously and aggregate the results. This form of catalogue has the advantage of being right up to date, but the searching may be slow, the aggregation buggy, and the coverage unstable, since local difficulties with any of the individual catalogues will affect the performance of the virtual catalogue.

The Forum for Interlending and Information Delivery has put together a wide-ranging list of union and virtual catalogues that may be used when tracking down locations for requested items.

SWRLS has produced a quick search form that allows the rapid sequential searching of various OPACs in the South West region.

Collection development

The National Acquisitions Group has produced a template for public library collection development policies, as part of its series, 'Best Practice Guidelines for Public Libraries'. In addition to the template itself, the document also explains what such a policy is, why public libraries should adopt one and what it is supposed to accomplish.


The North West Libraries Interlending Partnership have produced a handy glossary of library acronyms and jargon, which is invaluable for people coming to the field of libraries and inter-library loans for the first time.

For terms of special significance to music librarians, the glossary provided by the UK and Ireland branch of IAML is another useful resource.

Last Modified: 10 Jun 2013