IDS: A New Way of Making Interlibrary Loans

June 14, 2012 | News

A new way of making interlibrary loans has just come to CUNY. Information Delivery Systems (IDS) is a robust search tool and lending cooperative that integrates discovery and resource sharing to help library users find the materials they need right away. Through its simple interface, IDS lets users scan the breadth of CUNY’s library holdings. If what they seek is not there, IDS will help them locate materials in any of the cooperative’s local member or WorldCat libraries. And unlike conventional interlibrary loan, which gives the borrower no promise of when an item will be delivered, the IDS Project’s goal is to meet 48-hour turnaround times for articles and 72-hour turnaround time for books, free of charge.

The secret behind IDS is cooperation and a strong sense of community among the member libraries. Since a group of librarians came together in 2003 to improve interlibrary lending by sharing their resources, the IDS Project has grown into a not-for-profit organization, whose members include some 50 “quick delivery” public and private academic libraries in New York, among them New York Public Library.  This cooperative has no intermediary or vendor. IDS member libraries sign annual contracts committing to performance standards and embrace the motto that “my library is your library and your library is my library.” For a list of current IDS Project members, see

An IDS pilot is currently underway at the libraries of Baruch College, City College, La Guardia Community College and the CUNY Graduate Center, but all in the CUNY community are invited to test IDS Search for themselves.  Please see the screen shot below or follow this link:

University Systems Librarian Kevin Collins believes IDS will be a winner. “IDS dramatically enhances the scope of a library’s scholarly holdings and delivers research faster, better and at no charge,” says Collins. “That benefits everyone—students, faculty and the library itself.”

And in an era of constrained finances, when libraries are struggling to provide an increasing number of users with relevant informational experiences, IDS might just be the way that libraries help users find the information that is important and relevant to them.