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Introduction

Interlending is a major field of library and information services, resource sharing and library cooperation. The creation and success of the Namibian Interlending System will depend upon the co-operation of all libraries and information centres in making their documents available for use by library users throughout Namibia. This is because interlending services supplement each library's own resources, enabling its borrowers to gain access to publications held by other libraries. However, the scheme is not intended to relieve any library of its responsibility to build up a collection suitable for the needs of its users.

It should also be borne in mind that interlending is an expensive way of acquiring reading matter because of, inter alia, the labour intensive processes involved. It is important, therefore, to ensure that requests routed through interlending services, are restricted to documents which cannot be acquired by any other reasonable means. In such cases libraries should offer their users the advantages of obtaining sources through interlending.

Although interlending is conducted on a voluntary basis, its successful functioning depends on reciprocal services being provided by as many libraries as possible. If a library withholds its stock unnecessarily, it decreases the availability of literature by the number of books it does not make available. Not only does participating in an interlibrary loan network give greater access to its users to materials the library or information centre does not have, but it is a cost effective way to handle acquisitions. A librarian can borrow a book before purchasing the item. Sometimes the work may not be as expected. After careful examination of the contents, you can make a sound decision.

Interlending is a two-way process. When a library or information centre belongs to a network, it is expected to share its materials in return. Co-operation not only involves readiness on the part of the supplying library to make its materials available. It also means that the borrowing library should provide adequate and correct bibliographic information in order to expedite the service. Requests should always be handled as quickly as possible.

The Manual is intended as a guideline to help libraries operate efficiently in the interlending system. Libraries will be aided in their bibliographic searches by the National Library. Any library wishing to participate in the Namibia Interlending System should register as a member at the National Library of Namibia. Rules and procedures set out in this manual must be followed carefully and standard forms and coupons for interlending transactions should be used for all requests. All the forms and coupons mentioned in this manual are available from the National Library as well as on the web site. NIS facilitates sharing of information resources in Namibia. Any library may join the scheme. A registration fee is payable upon joining. Thereafter membership of NIS must be renewed and paid annually. It is hoped that the system will help in improving information delivery whilst at the same time ensuring cooperation and further development in the library and information systems in Namibian libraries.