Canadian Universities Reciprocal Borrowing Agreement

This agreement outlines principles and procedures for extending reciprocal borrowing privileges to library users from universities across Canada. It is based on the premise that resource sharing is a fundamental goal of library consortia that can be effectively implemented on a national level through provincial and regional cooperation.

1. Participating Consortia

This agreement pertains to the members of four library consortia in Canada:

  • CAAL-CBPA: Council of Atlantic Academic Libraries / Conseil des bibliothèques postsecondaires de l’Atlantique
  • BCI: Bureau de Coopération Interuniversitaire
  • OCUL: Ontario Council of University Libraries
  • COPPUL: Council of Prairie and Pacific University Libraries.

2. Categories of Library Users

These consortia agree to extend reciprocal borrowing privileges to selected categories of library users from any member institution.

The categories are:

  • Graduate students
  • Faculty
  • Staff

In addition, BCI, CAAL-CBPA, OCUL, and COPPUL agree to extend borrowing privileges to undergraduate students from members of these three consortia with the exception of University of Toronto and Ontario College of Art and Design. For a complete list of participants and exceptions, see the Participating Libraries list.

Retired faculty and staff may be included in this agreement according to the policies of the home library. If the home library normally provides library cards to its retired faculty and staff, it may also issue cards for reciprocal borrowing as described in Section 4 (User Identification).

3. Library Privileges

Borrowing privileges will normally be those privileges that are granted to extramural, community, or undergraduate library users. Some libraries may choose to extend full borrowing privileges in accordance with local policies.

The primary type of privilege extended under this agreement will be in-person borrowing of circulating library materials.

Host libraries may offer additional privileges or services to users from member institutions of the participating consortia. Institutional library policies and agreements within the respective consortia will determine these privileges or services. Some fees may apply.

Library users should be encouraged to obtain information on the privileges available at individual host libraries before visiting those libraries.

4. User Identification

The type of identification presented by library users from other institutions will be determined by each consortium.

This identification will normally be:

The members of each consortium will issue identification cards to their library users in accordance with any agreements or procedures established within that consortium.

Host libraries will be expected to honour these cards as presented, provided the date on the card is still valid.

If a library card from an OCUL member does not have an expiry date, the host library will normally be expected to honour the card at face value.

Users from Ontario libraries are expected to present an IUBP card to Quebec libraries.

If a library user from a BCI, CAAL-CBPA, or COPPUL institution does not have the appropriate identification card as listed above, the host library has the option of granting borrowing privileges on the basis of other identification such as a regular library card or a letter from the home institution.

It will be the prerogative of each host library to ask the library user for additional information if there is doubt about the user’s current status. In such cases, the onus should be on the user to provide the additional information to the host library.

It is the responsibility of each participating library to inform its users about the requirements for obtaining borrowing privileges at other libraries.

It is the responsibility of each library user to ensure that he or she has obtained the appropriate identification before visiting another library.

5. Procedural Issues

Upon presentation of the appropriate identification, a host library will normally enter information about the user into its circulation system or patron database. For borrowing purposes, each host library will decide whether to use the library card from the individual’s home institution or to provide that person with one of its own library cards.

The identification presented should not be surrendered to the host library. It should be retained by the user for use at other libraries as required.

Library users will be expected to adhere to the policies and procedures of each host library, including loan periods, renewal and recall procedures, and fines.

Each host library will be responsible for enforcing its loan policies with users from other institutions, including fines and other sanctions.

If a host library is unable to enforce its policies or procedures with a user from another institution, the host library will contact the library of the user’s home institution to determine appropriate action.

Staff at the host library should inform library users about procedures for returning borrowed materials. While materials may be returned to other libraries within the same consortium, library users will be expected to return borrowed materials directly to host libraries that are part of another consortium.

6. Implementation Issues

This agreement will take effect on May 1, 2002, and will continue indefinitely subject to the consent of the participating consortia.

Each consortium is responsible for the following actions:

  • Informing its front-line library staff about this reciprocal borrowing agreement and providing them with the appropriate documentation to implement the agreement.
  • Informing its library users about the agreement and providing them with instructions on using other libraries.
  • Providing its member libraries with the appropriate identification cards in cases where a consortial card is to be used.
  • Providing its member libraries and other consortia with a list of contact people, including telephone numbers and email addresses, at the participating libraries.
  • Informing library directors and senior management about the reciprocal borrowing agreement and its operational details.
  • Representatives of the participating consortia will jointly prepare a press release about this agreement for distribution to the appropriate media.
  • Each consortium will be responsible for collecting from its own members any statistics or usage data considered relevant to its needs. This information may be shared with other consortia upon request. The organization and format of any shared statistical or usage data will be determined by the participating consortia.
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