Abstract: Aside from payment: the experience of acquisition and mutual use of resources in the Belarus Agricultural Library (BelAL)

Veranika Babaryka-Amelchanka, Zhanna Dembovskaya, Ryma Muravitskaya, & Natallia Shakura; I. S. Lupinovich Belarus Agricultural Library of the National Academy of Sciences of Belarus (Belarus)

As a rule, the possibility to ensure quality user access to information involves significant financial resources for libraries and information centers. In this regard, any library is trying to expand free sources for formation of its collection, as well as to develop mutually beneficial cooperation regarding resource sharing and document delivery. In Belarus Agricultural Library (BelAL) there are mechanisms which make it possible to develop its own collection and to use the resources of other libraries and information centers.

Free acquisition of the national scientific resources is regulated by the normative legal acts of Republic of Belarus and the Bureau of the Department of Agrarian Sciences of the National Academy of Sciences of Belarus. BelAL is a member of the Department. Thanks to constant on-line monitoring using the State Bibliographic Information System of the National Book Chamber of Belarus, BelAL is provided with the fullest possible receipt of free obligatory and institutional copies of documents for its collection and its exchange and reserve collection.

International document exchange is a cost-effective source of acquisition of foreign scientific documents within which BelAL is actively cooperating with 75 organizations from 15 countries of the world. In the process of the equivalent exchange, BelAL receives free foreign scientific documents paying only shipping costs, which is much cheaper than buying. Besides, since 2006 BelAL has been a Depository Library of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) in Belarus and since then has been receiving FAO documents on food, agriculture and forestry, fisheries, agricultural economics, veterinary medicine and statistics free of charge.

BelAL is the center of national and international interlibrary loan service and document delivery on agricultural and related topics. BelAl   joined the international network of agricultural libraries AGLINET and received the right to deliver documents from international information centers in 1995. The libraries included in AGLINET, in accordance with the Statutes of this organization, are obliged to provide the requested document published in the territory of their country, or a copy, as well as any other bibliographic information for partner libraries and, as a rule, free of charge and as soon as possible. AGLINET was founded on the basis of the International Association of Agricultural Information Specialists – IAALD in Rome in November 1971. AGLINET has its own coordination center, which has been located in Italy at the David Lubin FAO Memorial Library since AGLINET foundation. Today AGLINET has 68 members from 56 countries. During 24 years, BelAL has established partnerships with more than 40 libraries and information centers, and helped Belarusian scientists to obtain the necessary information resources from almost any country in the world.

Thus, free sources for the library collection formation and development of partnerships in the area of mutual resource use contribute to ensuring the access of Belarusian users to the world information resources on agriculture and integration of the national sectoral information into the world information space with reduced financial costs.