I worked at a branch library, primarily in the circulation department (and technical processing) for 5.5 years where we were part of a consortium in which the participating libraries shared most--if not all--materials with patrons outside their immediate library. This consortium consisted of all the public libraries in the county except for two, so there were a lot of materials available for patrons even if they weren't located at their home library. Patrons loved being able to request items from other libraries and know that they could pick them up at their preferred library. There were always some problems with people not picking up items they requested, but for the most part, it was a great service. Items were sent to and from libraries once a day on Mondays thru Fridays, usually ending up at the intended library and being checked in there before the middle of the afternoon. We referred to the delivery service as the "pony" and the items send from other libraries as "requests" or "holds".
At the end of last year, I was offered the position of cataloger at a main library in my home state, but a different county. This is my preferred field since my cataloging courses at Drexel. I have been at this library for a little over a month and am very happy with the position and my coworkers. However, I was recently very surprised to learn that there's no transfer of materials between the library and other local libraries, even though we are part of the same consortium. There is transfer of materials between the main library (where I work) and the two branches, but other than that, the only other exchange of materials comes from ILL.
I was wondering if this is the exception or the norm, and what people's thoughts were concerning libraries "sharing" materials. Thank you!