Resource Sharing

Every RAILS member faces the challenge of making the most of limited resources. Since all libraries share the common goal of offering the best possible service to library patrons, it is to the advantage of all that every RAILS member share resources with other member libraries to the widest extent possible.

Libraries are required to participate in resource sharing activities as a condition of full membership in RAILS. Components of resource sharing include interlibrary loan, reciprocal borrowing, and reciprocal access. Our primary service areas of shared catalogs, delivery, and talking book centers help support resource sharing among our members.

Important Requirements for Members

Your Library's Resource Sharing Policies

It is your library's responsibility to maintain current information in the L2 Resource Sharing Policies Directory. Library directors and other designated staff have access to edit your library's L2 record when logged into the Library Learning website.

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Libraries that are OCLC members also need to maintain a current record in the OCLC Policies Directory.

Interlibrary Loan

Most interlibrary loan activity occurs among members of the same shared catalog consortium. Shared catalogs include the four LLSAP catalogs supported by RAILS (MAGIC, PrairieCat, RSA, SWAN), the I-SHARE catalog of the academic CARLI consortium, and several other consortia that include RAILS libraries as members.

Several options are available to request an ILL from outside of one's own shared catalog, or for standalone libraries to request items:

  • Members of SHARE Illinois consortia can place holds directly through the other consortia OPACs.
  • I-SHARE members may be able to place holds directly through the RAILS-supported OPACs (PrairieCat, SWAN, MAGIC, RSA). All RAILS members should be able to place holds in the CARLI I-SHARE catalog; they can contact CARLI support for their account/login info.
  • Non-SHARE/I-SHARE libraries can buy a user barcode to place holds in PrairieCat or SWAN.
  • Libraries that are OCLC members can request items via WorldCat Resource Sharing (OCLC ILL). For assistance, contact OCLC support: 800.848.5800 or support [at] oclc [dot] org.
  • Lastly, there is the option of faxing or emailing an ALA ILL form to a prospective lender.

For more ILL information, visit WebJunction Illinois: Interlibrary Loan: Essential Documents and Resources.

WorldShare ILL Transition Schedule Change: 

OCLC has decided to extend access to WorldCat Resource Sharing to May 2014. This change was made in response to requests from the OCLC interlibrary loan community that OCLC provide additional time for them to fully learn the new WorldShare ILL service while retaining access to WorldCat Resource Sharing.

The new schedule for libraries' transitions from WorldCat Resource Sharing to WorldShare ILL is:

  • All new requests must be placed in WorldShare ILL (no new requests placed in WorldCat Resource Sharing): April 14, 2014
  • End of access to WorldCat Resource Sharing: May 19, 2014
WorldShare ILL Training
Please take advantage of the comprehensive WorldShare ILL training and documentation resources, available from the OCLC Support and Training website. Training resources include:


PDF and Word versions of the ALA Interlibrary Loan request form are attached below.

Reciprocal Access/Borrowing

(Note: RAILS does not collect regular reciprocal borrowing statistics from member libraries. Members need to report reciprocal lending to the Illinois State LIbrary on the annual ILLINET statistics survey.)

OCLC Local Holdings Maintenance

RAILS encourages all RAILS OCLC members to regularly update their lists of serials in OCLC.

To assist our members with this process, tutorials have been posted below. These instructional documents were created by Erica Laughlin, the Database Coordinator at Resource Sharing Alliance (RSA) and have been adapted for all RAILS members by Susan Weinmann, the RAILS Resource Sharing Specialist.

Other OCLC local holdings maintenance tutorials are available on the OCLC website at:

Questions requiring OCLC technical support or Firstsearch logins should be directed to OCLC Customer Support at 1-800-848-5800 or support [at] oclc [dot] org.

Related Issues

RAILS support of resource sharing includes other areas related to library access and cooperation: