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a library service assuring optimal satisfaction of readers’ requests by the sharing of holdings of different libraries.
In prerevolutionary Russia a few libraries offered this service in rare instances. Soon after the October Revolution of 1917, an interlibrary loan system was organized on Lenin’s initiative. In view of the modern scientific and technical revolution, interlibrary loan services have become especially important as a means of satisfying the increasingly complex requests for information of scientific workers and specialists on the national economy. In 1969 the Ministry of Culture of the USSR issued the Statute on the Universal State System of Interlibrary Loan of the USSR. The system is organized according to region and branch of knowledge, and its main structural links are the all-Union and regional centers. The V. I. Lenin State Library of the USSR serves as the interlibrary loan center for the entire country.
In 1973 more than 60,000 libraries provided loan services. Readers receive publications for industrial or scientific work through the libraries nearest to their place of residence or work. The publication is ordered in the prescribed manner on a special order form. Soviet libraries send out originals, microfilms, or other reproductions of both domestic and foreign publications, excluding manuscripts, dissertations, and newspaper files. Publications not available in the largest libraries of the USSR may be ordered from abroad. In 1973, 40 Soviet libraries participated in interlibrary loan with 527 libraries in 55 foreign countries. Abroad, the interlibrary loan system is widely used in Great Britain, the USA, Bulgaria, Hungary, and other countries.
N. G. SAMOKHINA