Does the Library not have the item you want? Request it!

BLURB–This week, Brande discusses the process to request an item at the Chickasha Public Library. 

Last week a friend of mine told me about how the book Jaws by Peter Benchley was the book that made him fall in love with books, reading, and eventually horror movies. I have always felt that reading the book that made a person a reader is a bonding experience, so I trundled down to my local library to check it out. Ok, well, I went to work the next day. He’s a neat guy and all, but I am not going to do something crazy and put on shoes just to read a fella’s favorite book. 

The next day I arrived at work a bit early to grab Jaws before I was on the clock. To my dismay, there was no copy on the shelf. I checked the catalog because certainly, we have a copy. However, I found that we did not. So I did what every proper literary heroine did-threw myself upon the closest divan and wept bitter tears of disappointment. After drying my eyes with a lace-trimmed handkerchief, I submitted a material request for the 1974 bestseller. 

At the Chickasha Public Library, patrons can submit material requests for items that the library does not currently own. Let’s explore the process. 

The staff at the front desk will take your request. We need your name and contact information, of course, to contact you when your item arrives. Most importantly, we will need the title of the book you are looking for or the general topic. You can also ask for titles in different formats like audiobooks on CD or Playaway. We can also take requests for the Oklahoma Virtual Library, but those items may be a bit more difficult to find. 

After staff has taken your request, it is reviewed by the Director or Youth Services Librarian. They consider each request and choose to add it to the library collection via purchase or to use an interlibrary loan to get the item. In either case, they use the Material Selection Policy to decide. 

Requests purchased for the collection are items that fill in gaps in our collection, like books on stock market trading or bathroom remodeling. We have also purchased requested items that continue popular series like the latest Diary of a Wimpy Kid book (Big Shot will be released October 26, 2021). Requests also help us complete the series as well. This Fall, we received many requests for The Duke and I from the Bridgerton series by Julia Quinn, prompting us to check that series and purchase the few titles from that series that were missing. 

When the Library Director or Youth Services Librarian decides not to purchase a request, it will be inter-library loaned. Inter-library is a process where we contact other libraries who own the title and ask to borrow that item for our customers. There are a few reasons that an item would be inter-library loaned over purchasing. The item may be unavailable to purchase, which is often the case for older titles that haven’t reached “perpetually in print” status. Other items that we would inter-library loan are titles that don’t quite meet our material selection policy. Some examples are local history books for other states; we appreciate historical preservation as much as the next library, but a history about the founding families of Chautauqua County, New York, would not be a reasonable purchase for the Chickasha Public Library. 

Once a requested item has arrived, it is added to our system to be checked out by customers. Both purchased, and inter-library loan items have a two-week checkout. 

The Chickasha Public Library strives to curate a collection that will entertain and educate the public. We recognize that there are times when a customer needs a book that we do not own. The library will do the best we can to obtain any item for our customers, however, unfortunately some items just aren’t available.