From: MatCoward@aol.com
Date: 24 Aug 2002

In a message dated 24/08/02 9:01:05 AM GMT Daylight Time, owner-rara-avis@icomm.ca writes:

<< I don't know how widespread my experience is in the UK. It may be that each
 council (or indeed, library) has a degree of autonomy in deciding whether to
 provide this service or not. >>

In the good old days - ie, pre-Thatcher - inter library loans was indeed universal and unquestioned; if you lived on one of the lesser islands in the Outer Flanges and the only lending copy of the book you wanted was ten days from the nearest landing strip in a jungle in southern Africa, your local library would get it for you. They might charge you a ten pence fee, but if you were on a fixed income they'd waive that. Formally, nothing has changed - in practice, however, competition, free enterprise, efficiency, privatisation and all those other good things have intervened, and ILL is one labour intensive service which is easily (albeit unofficially) dropped by many budget conscious library authorities. Time was when if you belonged to one public library, you belonged to every library on earth ... nowadays, of course, that would be considered outrageously Stalinist and uncompetitive.
- Mat C (ex library worker, in case you were wondering ...)
<A HREF=" http://hometown.aol.co.uk/matcoward/myhomepage/newsletter.html"> http://hometown.aol.co.uk/matcoward/myhomepage/newsletter.html>

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