December 2021
In this Issue
We celebrate a refreshed BC Union Catalogue, shine a light on Southern Gulf Islands Community Libraries, introduce ILL policy pages, and wish you a happy holidays!
Refreshing the BC Union Catalogue
Just as a community garden needs care and attention from all members to thrive, so too does the BC Union Catalogue (BCUC). After more than two years of collaborative work among partner libraries, the Illume Support Centre, and the vendor Auto-Graphics, the BCUC clean-up project is a wrap!

Records for Illume library holdings are now centralized in one location, item search and requesting is smoother than ever, and the BCUC can continue to grow.

One million records removed

The BCUC is the combined library catalogue of Illume libraries across B.C. With approx. 3.5 million records in the database, problematic records build-up over time and can slow down staff workflows and patron interlibrary loan (ILL) requests. With assistance from Illume libraries and Auto-Graphics, the Support Centre weeded records with erroneous or incomplete information, removing a total of 1 million records.

Additionally, as part of this project, two union databases (ELN Media and ELN Serials) were successfully retired, leaving one centralized union catalogue, the BCUC. This reduces record duplication and makes it possible to search provincial library records all in one convenient place.

Optimizations moving forward

To optimize the upkeep of the BC Union Catalogue, a new automated notification system is in place: if a library uploads a record containing an error, they will be notified via email, so they can take further action. Moving forward, the Support Centre is also exploring additional improvements to the union catalogue such as identifying high-quality RDA primary records and the inclusion of eJournal holdings to enhance the overall quality of the BCUC.

Faster ILL delivery for patrons

At the end of the day, ILL staff and patrons benefit from a well-tended BCUC. Streamlined item search and requesting, refined shelf-availability checks, and improved fulfillment times ultimately means that libraries can deliver books, articles, and more to patrons, faster.
Library Spotlight
Southern Gulf Islands Community Libraries
We catch up with Carmen Oleskevich, Library Director, and Colette Clarke, Library Technician, at the Southern Gulf Islands Community Libraries to hear how they deliver interlibrary loans services to island communities with the support of Illume (and a boat!).

Can you tell us about this photo?

Carmen: Yes, that's a great shot of Colette, interlibrary loan (ILL) coordinator extraordinaire, on board the water taxi "Guillemot," with Captain David Rees-Thomas who ferries us between islands, weather permitting! Colette was on her way from Pender to Saturna Island to offer training to library volunteers at the Saturna reading center regarding procedures for incoming and outgoing ILL materials. In addition to training, Colette handles all the administration tasks on Illume.

Backing up a bit, can you tell us about your libraries and who they serve?

Carmen: The Pender Island Public Library Association (PIPLA) is the administrative lead for library facilities located on five islands in beautiful southwestern BC: Pender, Mayne, Galiano, Saturna, and Piers. We serve approximately 4,700 full time residents, but the population doubles during the summer months due to an influx of part-time residents and tourists. For a public library, fluctuating visitation levels present a challenge of meeting the needs of two main types of patrons, locals and visitors, and adjusting to seasonal periods of low and high library usage. With population growth expected, our libraries are preparing for increased usage and changing needs, particularly in the area of technology.

How does ILL happen at your libraries?

Carmen: We encourage patrons to submit online requests for interlibrary loans via Illume. This was especially important during COVID Workplace Safety restrictions. Most patrons like to browse the Illume catalogue from the comfort of their home to choose from the huge variety of materials. Our library staff also help patrons use Illume inside the library to select titles and staff will also place requests on behalf of patrons as some don't have computers/tablets, internet access, or the computer skills needed.

All interlibrary loan materials then come to our central location at PIPLA on Pender Island and are redistributed to the reading centers as needed.

What does it mean to provide ILL and to be part of the Illume service?

Carmen: With ILL, we can offer access to a much greater provincial collection of titles than our modest acquisition budgets can permit. Small rural libraries and reading centers such as ours really depend on the provincial ILL service and on Illume support to help us take advantage of the amazing features in the Illume database.

Colette: Coordinating ILL for the Southern Gulf Islands has been one of the most enjoyable parts of my job, from the new patrons I introduce to this system who show such gratitude to the long-time users who can barely suppress their excitement every time an item comes in! Through ILL, I have really been able to build a strong relationship with the patrons who utilize this service.

I've also found myself enjoying working with the other libraries' ILL departments. Whether I'm slipping in thank you notes, affixing stamps, or getting a call about a request we really want filled, ILL interactions have always been particularly warm and friendly.
ILL Policy Pages have Arrived
One of the most common questions submitted to the Support Centre is "Which Illume libraries loan DVDs?" To help answer this question, and others like it, policy pages are now in place at many Illume libraries. For post-secondary libraries, having a policy page is in line with the Illume Service Partner Benefits & Responsibilities. Policy pages are available to public libraries as well, and when more libraries build policy pages, all Illume members benefit!

A policy page pulls together select information about loans policies in an easy-to-scan page. Each library's page follows a template (either for public or post-secondary libraries), so that ILL staff can find and compare information from various libraries in a familiar layout. And each library has ownership of their page and hosts it on their website, making it easy to keep content up to date.

Illume policy pages can be used to answer questions such as:
  • "What is the loan period for returnable items?"
  • "How are non-returnable copies delivered?"
  • "Are renewals allowed?"

With up to date loan policies readily available in a one-stop shop on the Illume website, library staff save time looking for information in many different locations.

To see policy pages in action, visit:

If your library would like to get started setting up your policy page, see the Public Library or the Post-Secondary Library templates. If you have questions or need assistance with set-up, contact the Illume Support Centre!
A preview of the public library ILL policy page template
Happy Holidays!
Wishing all Illume members a warm and happy holiday season! The Illume Support Centre will be closed from December 17th, 2021 to January 3rd, 2022. Please continue to email any issues during this time and we look forward to seeing you in the new year!
The BC Electronic Library Network (BC ELN) hosts and staffs the Illume Administrative Centre.
Questions? Contact the Illume Administrative Centre.