Resource Sharing

Resource sharing, in its broadest sense, is core to the mission and purpose of the Boston Library Consortium [BLC].  Since its founding in 1970, the BLC has offered services to directly support first the sharing of print resources across its membership and now print, electronic and digital content.  All Full Member libraries have agreed to do their best to implement a set of resource sharing best practice benchmarks that focus on maximizing access to and delivery of materials from the member libraries across the BLC.

Current Resource Sharing Services

The BLC utilizes the RapidILL and RapidR services as its primary infrastructure for reciprocal borrowing and lending of physical and electronic resources.  The libraries use the ILLiad resource sharing software to streamline the workflows of inter-library loan. If you are a staff member at a BLC member library or a student, scholar, or researcher interested in providing access to other BLC libraries, please see the Services sections which describe how to gain access to and borrow materials from other libraries.

A database of BLC member libraries holdings is maintained as part of the Rapid service and is updated regularly.

Resource Sharing Delivery Services

The BLC libraries exchange materials using a combination of Odyssey, RapidX, or Article Exchange, UPS and the Massachusetts state-wide delivery system. 

Questions regarding the BLC UPS service may be sent to


Other Resource Sharing Services

In late 2013, the Boston Library Consortium signed a Memorandum of Understanding with ReprintsDesk, a document delivery service, to provide discounted rates for BLC member libraries.  If you are affiliated with a BLC library and want more details, please contact the Executive Director.

Resource Sharing Community of Interest

The Resource Sharing Community of Interest [COI] is an active community within the BLC and provides opportunities for staff at BLC member libraries to share experiences, meet with vendors, provide training workshops, and generally focus on issues relating to consortial resource sharing.

Staff at BLC member libraries interested in joining the Resource Sharing COI should send an e-mail to

Resource Sharing Working Group

As the collections of the BLC member libraries become increasingly digital and electronic, as open access materials become increasingly available, and as libraries integrate fee-based document delivery more directly into their resource sharing options, the BLC recognizes it may need to modify its current services so as to be better positioned to meet the resource sharing needs of its members in the future.

To that end, a Resource Sharing Working Group was established by the BLC Board of Directors in March, 2014 and charged with investigating options for resource sharing for the future.  With the growth of e-book collections across the BLC and the potential for access to electronic content beginning to replace ownership for certain types of resources, the lines between collection development and resource sharing begin to blur.  These trends within academic and research libraries further complicate a clear and distinct definition of resource sharing and elevate the importance of thinking broadly as the libraries plan for the future.   

Access to Government Documents at BLC Libraries

Thirteen of the BLC libraries participate in the Federal Depository Library Program.  Details of these libraries and how to access their collections is available here.

Monographic Retention Policy

In September of 2011, the BLC Board of Directors approved a monographic retention policy focused on reducing redundancy in the collections across the BLC member libraries while still ensuring the availability of scholarly content, particularly as the BLC libraries look to web collections and free up limited physical space.  This policy allows the libraries to reduce their expenditures on duplicative materials while still ensuring access to the content within the consortium.  The approved policy is available here.