I don’t know how many of you have visited the links I’ve posted on the right-hand side of this page. Well, all the way at the bottom is a link called “WorldCat.” I feel it is my duty to alert as many people as possible to the existence of WorldCat and what it can do for them.
Is there a book you want that is either out of print or too expensive to buy? Go to WorldCat and search for the book. Within seconds, it will tell you which libraries around the world own this book and how far they are away from you. Why is this a Good Thing? Because — get this! — you can borrow them! And you don’t even have to figure out a way to get to Juneau from Miami to do it!
If you have a library card for a library in North America, you can borrow books from almost any other library in North America. International libraries may also make their books available, but you’re basically limited to the US and Canada (which, if you think about it, is still pretty darned impressive). You can walk into your local branch, armed with the WorldCat printout, or you can just go to your local library’s website and put in your request that way. It is a great way for libraries to provide patrons with books that the library doesn’t own.
I’m bringing this up now because I just picked up an ILL (= InterLibrary Loan) book from my local branch. I recently read 31 Bond Street, by Ellen Horan and, while I was Googling some information about the true story the novel is based on, I found that another book had been written about it, only this one is not a novel. It’s called Butchery on Bond Street, and is by Benjamin Feldman. I immediately checked the online catalogs for my local libraries, and came up with nothing. But, according to WorldCat, 37 libraries own copies of the book, including one in Gainesville, FL. I logged onto my library account, found the ILL page, entered the information and voila!, less than 3 weeks later the book is in my hands. They’re even giving me a month to read it, which is pretty cool.
While I was at WorldCat, I decided to search for another book that I’ve been wanting to read: Bedpan Commando, by June Wandrey, a WWII combat nurse. That book is in 103 libraries, including 4 in Florida, and I requested it at the same time as Butchery on Bond Street. I learned about Wandrey and her book from watching WWII in HD on the History Channel last fall. Bedpan Commando hasn’t arrived in Sarasota yet, but I’m really looking forward to reading it.