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Best Practices for Member Libraries at CRL

The following information is also available in brochure format.  To order free copies for your library or research institution, please contact CRL's Communications Department.


Promote Awareness of Your CRL Membership & Its Menu of Benefits

  • Include CRL in your bibliographic instruction courses to your community of users.
  • Familiarize faculty library representatives and selectors with your CRL membership.
  • Display CRL pamphlets with your library display of brochures and handouts.
  • Periodically report information about your CRL membership in your library newsletter. The beginning of semesters is an excellent time to do this.
  • Include CRL materials in welcome packets for new faculty and students distributed by the university or library. CRL provides free copies of its pamphlets upon request.
  • Subscribe to CRL’s free quarterly newsletter, FOCUS, which lists new acquisitions and provides short, insightful articles about CRL and its collections.
  • Keep your library personnel, especially in reference, interlibrary loan, collection development, and acquisitions trained and updated in the benefits of CRL membership.

Integrate CRL Bibliographic Records into Your Own Catalog

  • Display CRL’s record after your own to prevent patrons ordering CRL copies. This will also prevent you from retrieving it from your own library’s collection. You may have to add something to the record number to make this occur. Please consult CRL or other members who have successfully loaded records.
  • Allow user-initiated document delivery to your interlibrary loan office for CRL requests, or make inquiries directly to CRL by e-mail, fax, or telephone (toll free: 800-621-6044, Ext. 314).

Display Your CRL Membership Prominently on Your Library’s Web Page

  • Provide a Web link to CRL on your library’s homepage, since patrons often don’t go far past the first menu.
  • CRL’s Handbook is available on its website at:


  • The Handbook is the KEY to CRL collections of over five million volumes. The majority of the collection is not catalogued, so using the Handbook is imperative for understanding and accessing CRL’s collections.

  • Telnet to crlcatalog.uchicago.edu as an alternative to web access.

Cost Effectiveness: Internalize CRL’s Collections Policy with Your Own

  • Rely upon CRL to meet the needs of your patrons instead of purchasing major microform sets, newspapers, international dissertations, or large print sets.
  • Use CRL’s Demand Purchase service for newspapers, archival microforms of national governments, and international dissertations up to $2,000 per year per patron.
  • Vote annually to acquire major microform and reprint sets through CRL’s Purchase Proposal service.
  • Promote and think of CRL as your branch library. Invite a CRL Program Officer to your campus.
  • Make sure your collection development policy statement is clear about the role CRL resources have played in the past (e.g. what has not been purchased in the past because selectors knew that CRL resources were readily available) and should currently play in the development of your collection. Review CRL programs every three to five years.

Participate in CRL Governance, Acquisition Programs & Area Studies Programs

  • CRL is member-owned and operated: you are its future! Change it for the better for all. Tell others how they can participate.
  • Be proactive in making purchase proposal suggestions.

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The Center for Research Libraries, March 1999

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