Brian Miller Selected for Virginia Boucher Distinguished ILL (Interlibrary Loan) Librarian Award


Brian Miller was selected as the 2020 winner of the Sharing and Transforming Resources Section’s (STARS) Virginia Boucher Distinguished ILL (Interlibrary Loan) Librarian Award, sponsored by OCLC. The award consists of $2,000 and a citation, which recognizes an individual for outstanding professional achievement, leadership, and contributions to interlibrary loan and document delivery through recent publication of significant professional literature, participation in professional associations, and/or innovative approaches to practice in individual libraries.

Brian Miller was nominated by four of his peers in the Big Ten Academic Alliance (BTAA) for his work in pioneering resource sharing approaches and devotion to promoting resource sharing best practices. Brian has fifteen years of experience providing and enhancing interlibrary loan and document delivery services in academic libraries. His nominees point specifically to his outstanding record of service and commitment to sharing innovative practices with the resource sharing community, his efforts to expand interlibrary loan of special collections, and to his work promoting alternatives to copyright practices.

Special Collections use has often been tied to a specific library or archive location housing rare or fragile materials. Lending these collections through Interlibrary loan had long-been thought to be difficult if not impossible. Brian saw a need and an opportunity to challenge conventional wisdom. He proposed and then chaired a cross-consortial committee of library stakeholders (including ILL practitioners, special collections curators, and preservation officers) to develop shared best practices for borrowing and lending special collections. The results of this work was a new policy within the BTAA to entertain requests for digitization or lending of special collections materials that allow for the preservation of materials while looking for ways to say yes to requests for these treasures long restricted to local viewing. He is now developing a similar framework for members of the SHARES resource sharing partnership.

Similarly, many libraries practice an interpretation of copyright guidelines as if they were law. To abandon these practices could be thought of as the third rail of interlibrary loan. Brian sought to abandon these outdated guidelines developed in 1978, instead embracing a more modern and nuanced approach to interpreting section 108(g)(2) of U.S. Copyright Law in order to identify when the procurement of copies through ILL “does so in such aggregate quantities as to substitute for a subscription to or purchase of such work.” Brian presented the new, succinct guidelines in use at The Ohio State University to his peers at the OCLC Resource Sharing Conference in 2019, and is now sought after for his expertise with these guidelines.

Finally, and perhaps most importantly, Brian is generous in sharing his expertise and innovative practices with the resource sharing community. Over the past decade, he has shared his resource sharing expertise at webinars, regional, national, and international conferences. The collective audience for Brian’s presentations to the resource sharing community is huge, with countless ILL practitioners across the U.S. having attended and benefitted from one or more of his recent presentations. Brian is also one of the best public speakers in our profession: his presentations are clear, concise, informative, and always infused with his enthusiasm for improving resource sharing.

In short, Brian possesses a true passion for resource sharing, and through his development and promotion of innovative policies, he inspires fellow ILL practitioners to continue to improve this essential service at their own institutions and within their networks.

The selection committee includes: Karen L. Janke (Chair), Seangill Peter Bae, Ms. Adebola Fabiku, Francie Mrkich, and Kurt I. Munson.

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