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Through Loan SHARK, Louisiana public libraries share their resources to provide better services for Louisiana citizens. A union catalog of the holdings of Louisiana public libraries and the State Library of Louisiana has been developed to assist in resource sharing through interlibrary loan. Books, journals, magazines, newspapers, government documents, videos, software, audio-tapes and CDs are included.
The State Library of Louisiana began providing interlibrary loan service to Louisiana public libraries when it was founded in 1925. Parish libraries mailed requests for specific materials to the State Library. If the material requested was not available in the State Library's collection, the request was referred to other libraries. The development of the Louisiana Numerical Register (LNR) in the late 1960s facilitated a statewide interlibrary loan system. LNR contained the holdings of all the contributing Louisiana libraries, arranged by Library of Congress catalog card number, on microfiche. Libraries were able to search LNR by Library of Congress number to borrow materials directly from participating Louisiana libraries. Louisiana public, academic and institutional libraries participated in LNR. The State Library continued filling requests for materials in the State Library collection and referring requests to other libraries. The State Library began participating in OCLC's interlibrary loan service when it was introduced in 1979. OCLC allowed the State Library to borrow materials for State Library patrons and Louisiana libraries from OCLC member libraries in Louisiana and out-of-state.
Lasernet, a statewide, automated interlibrary loan system primarily for Louisiana public libraries, was initiated in the fall of 1987. A union catalog was built from LNR records and the State Library's catalog. Lasernet was the first optical disk based ILL system in the country. Initially using 12" Laser Disks, the system migrated the union catalog to CD-ROM in 1988. All transactions were transferred nightly via modem. In 1996, Lasernet moved to an online database, and transactions were handled on the Internet.
The State Library and a committee of Louisiana public librarians began to investigate new systems in 1998. After looking at the products of a number of vendors, the decision was made to go with The Library Corporation's (TLC) Loan·Request ILL software. Named Loan SHARK, the new system incorporates a web-based union catalog of Louisiana public library holdings with online transaction software. The first merge of records was performed in the early fall of 2000, and by January 1, 2001, all automated libraries had submitted their records for the database. In November 2000, 8 Louisiana public libraries began testing the database and the software. The new system went online for all Louisiana public libraries in the summer of 2001.
Information taken from the Louisiana Interlibrary Loan System.