The Cost of interlending activities.

This article summarizes the findings of a study aimed at focusing aftention on the whole range of costs associated with interlibrary lending. Comparative costs of the ways in which interlibrary loans may be obtained are presented. The results distinguish between the costs incurred by a particular library in a transaction, and the net effect of the transaction on the finances of all libraries involved. Three universities, one polytechnic, two public and one industrial library, a regional library bureau and the British Library Lending Division took part in the study. The simplest successful interlibrary loan transaction, involving the supply of an average length photocopy, costs around £ 2.00 and the minimum cost of a loan is in the region of £ 4.00, both at 1981 prices. The investigation illustrates that generally the over-all cost to the library community of a transaction which results in the supply of an item from Lending Division stock, is likely to be less than that of an application involving a regional library bureau or one sent direct to another library. The use of the Lending Division loan/photocopy form for interlending is shown to provide an equitable mean of sharing the costs of interlibrary loans.