Book Detectives Help Northumberland Public Library Patrons Find Wanted Titles

Inter-library loan

If there’s a book that you want to read, but you can’t find it on the shelves of the Northumberland Public Library, don’t despair. Instead, ask the library staff to get it for you under the Interlibrary Loan (ILL) program.

Library employee Alison Towles is an expert at using the ILL program to get books patrons are looking for. Simply ask at the front desk or fill out a slip requesting the book and you are very likely to be pleasantly surprised by the results.

Towles, who has years of experience finding books via the ILL, says she enjoys the challenge of ferreting out books from virtually anywhere in the United States. “It’s like being a detective,” she said. The cost is very modest: just $2 per item, Towles said, which helps defray postage costs.

Once located, the requested book is sent to the Northumberland Public Library, where the patron checks it out. After the patron is finished, the book is returned – by the due date – to the library, which then sends it back it to its original home.

One particularly challenging hunt was the recent request for a rare book – “He Rode Up Front for Patton” – that Library Publicist Don Hirst needed for a historical article he’s writing about Gen. George S. Patton, the famous World War II commander. The long-out-of-print book was written by retired Brig. Gen. Albin F. Irzyk, Hirst’s old commander in Vietnam, who was one of Patton’s top armored battalion commanders during WWII and had many dealings with the famous general. Irzyk, who is living in Florida, agreed to share some insights with Hirst for the article but also suggested digging into the book.

Towles, after some diligent searching, found the rare book in a Florida library, which shipped it here. The rest, as they say, is history. So don’t hesitate to ask for this service. You quite likely will get what you are looking for, too.

Photo caption: Northumberland Public Library employee Kara Goodrow holds a copy of “He Rode Up Front for Patton” that library employee Alison Towles tracked down after a diligent search. The book, now very rare, was needed by a patron doing research on Gen. George S. Patton for a magazine article. Photo by Don Hirst

Leave a Reply