Thursday, March 24, 2011

ILL is like a pitbull

I'd forgotten that I had put in an InterLibrary Loan request for The Girl Who Owned a City months ago, back when I was writing yet another blog post about the end of the world.

Then an email came this morning informing me that it had arrived and was available for pick-up.  So I went trotting on over to Butler Library during my lunch break this afternoon, enjoying those moments in the cold crisp sun, and came back with this, from the public library of Madison, Wisconsin:

"A killing virus has swept the earth, sparing only children through the age of twelve.  There is chaos everywhere, even in formerly prosperous mid-America.  Gangs and fierce armies of children begin to form almost immediately.  It would be the same for the children on Grand Avenue but for Lisa, a ten-year-old girl who becomes their leader.  Because of Lisa, they have food, even toys, in abundance.  And now they can protect themselves from the fierce gangs that roam the neighborhood.  But for how long? Then Lisa conceives the idea of a fortress, a city in which the children could live safely and happily always, and she intends to lead them there."
-back of the book, The Girl Who Owned A City, by O. T. Nelson

And the author bio? Even better:

"O.T. (Terry) Nelson founded one of the most successful house-painting enterprises in the country, College Craft Enterprises, which has become nationally known as an example of the libertarian philosophy at work. In 1976 he sold his business to travel and to write. Currently living in Minneapolis, Minnesota, Mr. Nelson is working on sequels to this book."

(Just for the record, those sequels never came to fruition, as far as I can tell.)

But all of this speaks to the amazingness that is ILL.  You can randomly remember a book, just in passing, from years or decades or lifetimes past, a book that is out of print or that no one has ever even heard of let alone read other than you, and you start to wonder if maybe you didn't just imagine reading it in the first place.  But then you go to the ILL website and plug in what little you remember or what little you were able to glean from Amazon or wherever, and they start putting out feelers for it and eventually, whether days or weeks or months later, they track it down for you.

And then you wake up one morning and log in to your email account and there's that automated email notification so matter of factly informing you that the book is available for pick-up.

It's a little bit like magic.


Francie said...

Emma, I was sent a link to your terrific post. I appreciate your enthusiasm about our ILL service and I really love your ILL/pitbull comparison! I think we've found our new department slogan (I can see the poster or t-shirt now.) Seriously, a good ILL employee is a bit "dogged" in the pursuit of tracking down requested materials, and gets a real sense of satisfaction in finding and getting what you want and need. On behalf of the entire Columbia ILL department, thank you! We're happy we could help.
Francie Mrkich, Director of Access Services, Columbia University Libraries

Marie said...

Oh my gosh that book sounds SO FAMILIAR. Tell me how it is! I have a feeling that I read it when I was twelve or something.

Also, I love the comment by Francie. I LOVE YOU, LIBRARIANS OF THE WORLD. (!)