Thursday, January 28, 2010

52 Weeks to Better Genealogy: Week 4

Here is this week's challenge in the 52 Weeks to Better Genealogy series:

Learn about your local public library’s inter-library loan (ILL) policy. Pick a genealogy-related book that you want to read that is not in your library’s collection. Ask the librarian how to request the book from another library. Find the different library systems from which you can request books through your own library, as this can dramatically increase the number of genealogy books to which you have access. If you have a genealogy blog, write about your experience with requesting items through your library’s ILL service.

My closest library is a tiny suburban branch in the much larger Harris County Public Library system. Thus, I often request items from other branches. About 1/3 of the items I receive through ILL are books. The majority are CDs.

For this week's challenge, I requested a book I heard about on a genealogy discussion list. Several people recommended it, so I checked to see if my library system had it and they did:

They Came in Ships
by John P. Colletta, PHD

I received the second edition. There is a more recent edition, so I may have to hunt further with the help of the reference librarian in order to acquire the latest copy. A quick glance at WorldCat shows that Houston Public and Montgomery County Public systems have the third edition. .

This book traveled from the LaPorte Library for my ILL request. It is in the collection due to the generosity of the Friends of the LaPorte Library, so I feel compelled to show them some love:

I requested this book online. Any item in the HCPL system can be requested online. If you are requesting items from other library systems, you must go to your branch and fill out a request form. It's an easy process.

Inter-Library Loan has been a very handy service for me as a patron. My library is just too small to have all the books I want to read, and they have very few genealogy books at all. ILL connects me with those items and allows me to read the latest in genealogy--with the exception of They Came in Ships, in which case I'm a little behind.


  1. Inter-library loans are the next best thing to a good chocolate bar! Our branches are small in Phoenix - I go to the Phoenix library website, put in a request for the book of choice, and they e-mail me when it's ready to pick up @ the library closest to us.

  2. Sounds like you have mastered the system...Have you inter-library loaned at Clayton yet?
    What part of IL? FHL at Salt Lake and has great IL films available. My first Irish breakthrough was a film on Clark Co. IL
    You can also order from other states.
    Appreciate your reminding about online ordering.

  3. Okay I am laughing at myself I saw IL not ILL...duh. Maybe I shouldn't stay up so late to read. Good post.