Spotlight: Resource Sharing

Friday, May 12, 2023

Have you heard the term “resource sharing”? It’s an important term in a library context as it gets to the heart of what libraries do: provide easy access to information. 

Specifically, “resource sharing” refers to the sharing of library resources between libraries. At Waterloo, we’re a part of Ontario Council of University Libraries (OCUL), which is a group of 18 participating university libraries across the province, that partnered to make sharing resources more seamless. However, there are several supporting services the Library provides under the umbrella of “Resource Sharing” that make sharing as easy as possible for community members to access the information they need to further their learning and research.  

Copyright and interlibrary loans  

Resource Sharing library staff are well versed in how copyright rules apply when we borrow or lend items between libraries so you don’t have to be. Libraries enter into licensing agreements with publishers, which allow them to make use of the fair dealing provision on behalf of users to share typically up to 20% of a work (depending on the license). When a request for digitized portions of books or journals from Waterloo or other libraries is submitted, the library patron will be asked to agree to a copyright statement. Check out more details about copyright at Waterloo

Requests for books outside our collection 

Sometimes you may come across a book you need for your studies or research that is not available from Waterloo’s collection or our partner institutions. In the past this type of interlibrary loan request would require library users to fill out a separate form in a separate platform, called RACER. As of May 1, 2023 there is a new streamlined process to complete this type of request seamlessly within Omni, the Library’s catalogue, without having to go elsewhere. As always, once the request is submitted, the Library’s Resource Sharing staff will source the item for you as efficiently as possible. More details on how to fill out this “blank request form”.  

Digitization on demand 

You may have requested a digital copy of an essay or journal article from the Library in the past, but did you know you can also do this with UWaterloo theses? The Library has all UWaterloo theses as part of our collection but many of them do not circulate (i.e. they can’t be borrowed from the Library). If you’re hoping to cite one as part of your work, the Resource Sharing team can provide digitization assistance. This free service will provide a scanned version of the requested thesis in about two to four weeks. Plus, if the item’s copyright allows, the Library will also make this digitized version permanently available and free to share on UWSpace, the open access institutional repository managed by the Library. More details on the Thesis Digitization on Demand service

Books by mail 

If you can’t physically come to campus to pick up a library book, the Library can mail it to you anywhere in Canada. When requesting a title in Omni, the Library’s catalogue, select the “Books by Mail” option for the ‘pickup’ location. When the book becomes available, you will receive two emails — one is the generic availability email, and the other is specific to Books by Mail, and includes a link to a web page which asks for your address. Enter your current mailing address, sit back and wait for your book to arrive! More details on the Books by mail service

New! Student Life Centre pickup locker 

If you’re local and looking for a quick, contact-less pickup option on campus, the Library has partnered with the W Store and Athletics to provide pickup lockers in the Student Life Centre (SLC). Open 24/7, these lockers are located on the main floor of the SLC, between Brubaker’s and the Turnkey Desk. When requesting a title in Omni, the Library’s catalogue, select the “Locker Pickup @ Student Life Centre” option for the ‘pickup’ location. You’ll receive two emails — one from the Library to let you know the book(s) are being delivered to the lockers, and a second email from Luxer One, the locker system, which will include instructions on how to retrieve your book(s). Books are held in the lockers for three days before being moved to the Dana Porter Library hold shelf, where they’ll be held for an additional seven days. More details on the Library’s Book pickup and delivery services

Now that you know a little more about how the Resource Sharing team supports your access to the information you need for your research and learning, don’t hesitate to reach out if this sparked more specific questions. The Resource Sharing team can be reached at

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