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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.
To encourage the borrowing, lending, and digitization of appropriate selective special collections materials among the BLC member libraries, the BLC Board of Directors endorsed the Big Ten Academic Alliance Principles and Protocols for Interlibrary Loan of Special Collections Materials in 2020, and committed to support implementation at the local library level.
Current Resource Sharing Services
The BLC utilizes RapidILL and RapidR services as its primary infrastructure for reciprocal borrowing and lending of physical and electronic resources. Most libraries also use the ILLiad resource sharing software to streamline inter-library loan workflows. A database of BLC member libraries' holdings is maintained as part of the Rapid service and is updated regularly.
The BLC libraries exchange materials using a combination of Odyssey, RapidX, Article Exchange, UPS and the Massachusetts state-wide delivery system.
Other Resource Sharing Services
Resource Sharing Community of Interest
The Resource Sharing Community of Interest is an active community and provides opportunities for staff at BLC member libraries to share experiences, meet with vendors, participate in professional development activities, and address issues related to consortial resource sharing.
Staff at BLC member libraries interested in joining the Resource Sharing COI should send an e-mail to email@example.com.
Access to Government Documents at BLC Libraries
Eleven of the BLC member libraries participate in the Federal Depository Library Program providing access to government documents and related information to the public. Details on accessing these collections is available here.
Monograph De-selection and EAST
In 2011, the BLC Board of Directors approved Best Practices for Monograph De-selection 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 was withdrawn in 2017 since a majority of BLC member libraries are also members of the Eastern Academic Scholars' Trust (EAST) Project which supports de-selection and withdrawal of print materials based upon retention commitments made by EAST Retention Partners.