The University’s libraries unveiled their participation in a new Borrow Direct feature earlier this week that enhances the accessibility of library holdings across the Ivy League.
The new service, dubbed Borrow Direct Plus, allows for Yale community members to register for on-site borrowing privileges at institutions participating in Borrow Direct, in which students can request books from the libraries of the eight Ivy League schools, University of Chicago, Johns Hopkins University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Duke University has also joined Borrow Direct Plus, although it is not a part of Borrow Direct. This is Yale’s first on-site borrowing agreement.
“[Borrow Direct] introduces an element of flexibility into library holdings: It recognizes that books ought to be movable — copies should move to places where people are interested in them,” assistant professor of English Ian Cornelius said. “Borrow Direct Plus recognizes that people also move around.”
Director of Access Services for Sterling Memorial and Bass libraries Brad Warren said Borrow Direct Plus is fairly simple to use. In order to receive a library card for on-site access to a member institution’s holdings, one only needs to present a valid Yale ID card and login to Borrow Direct, he said.
But Nathaly Aramayo ’17, who has an on-campus job in the Sterling Stacks, said that although Borrow Direct Plus is a good service, most students may not yet know about it. The University, she added, should properly inform students on how to best make use of it.
The lending policies and collections available will vary based on the institution. Because of this, Warren said that he advises students to call schools in advance should they be interested in taking advantage of Borrow Direct Plus.
Should students from participating institutions come to Yale, they will be subject to the same restrictions as other Yale students when borrowing books.
The Yale Law Library, Warren said, is also partaking in Borrow Direct Plus, making it the only law school library in the system.
Warren said Borrow Direct Plus was conceived at the IviesPlus Access Services Symposium at Brown University in June 2013. Representatives from institutions participating in Borrow Direct, he said, agreed that the logical next step for the service was to allow for students to directly check out books from partner universities.
“If we were willing to ship these materials, check them out and expedite them, we thought, why don’t we offer same service if the person is actually at that library?” Warren said.
Over the subsequent year, representatives from universities interested in the new service met for a series of teleconferences to discuss its development. In addition, Warren said, administrators and heads of libraries at participating institutions had to approve the project in order for it to go forward.
Students and library administrators interviewed said they think the service is a positive development.
Aaron Pratt GRD ’16 said Borrow Direct Plus allows for more flexibility than was previously available. In the past, if he wanted to check a citation when conducting research at a non-Yale library, he said, he would often have been unable to do so.
Pratt added that Borrow Direct Plus should allow graduate students living in New York or Boston easier access to resources.
Cornelius said he hoped Borrow Direct Plus would remove some of the administrative hurdles that he has experienced in the past when gaining access to libraries and use of their collections.
Warren added the new service will facilitate interaction between university libraries.
“We all view it as something that’s beneficial to all of us,” he said. “It’s a good excuse to determine other ways to collaborate with each other, other than shipping books back and forth.”
Yale has been participating in Borrow Direct since 1999.