RUSA - STARGazing: Meet Brian Miller



RUSA - STARGazing: Brian Miller

1. What is your institutional affiliation?

Ohio State University Libraries

2. What’s your OCLC / Docline symbol?


3. What would be the title of your autobiography?

Getting my interlibrary loan act together: how I worked within and across libraries to optimize resource sharing, increase access, and enhance user satisfaction.

4. How did you get involved in resource sharing (or access services, etc.)?

While working as a library circulation supervisor, I was recruited to resource sharing work by my absolutely wonderful predecessor, Jennifer Kuehn. She saw potential in me and served as my mentor for several years before retiring. Jennifer taught me three important ILL professional lessons that have served me well to this day: 1) Never put off until tomorrow what you can do today; 2) Remember that behind every transaction number is a real person with an actual need; and 3) Be the change you want to see by learning from others and modeling excellence.

5. What are you passionate about? How does that passion inform your work?

I am passionate about learning from colleagues in the interlibrary loan community and sharing my knowledge and experience with them in return. Resource sharing is continually evolving so there are always new ways to operate more efficiently and do things better. Conferences and webinars are perfect opportunities to hear what others are doing so you can update your own services for the benefit of your users. Developing an alternative copyright policy to CONTU, sharing special collections through ILL, and calculating ILL costs are all great examples of how I learned from and collaborated with others and then shared my own application and implementation experiences with the community in return. The most successful ILL professionals realize that resource sharing is about sharing knowledge and experiences as well as library materials.

6. What do you feel are the benefits of your STARS membership, and why would you encourage others to get involved?

STARS is the best professional organization where interlibrary loan practitioners from all different types and sizes of libraries can come together to discuss common problems, share solutions, and shape the future of resource sharing. If you want to interact with people who are friendly and fervent about our shared profession, the most important thing you can do is join STARS and consider getting involved with one or more of its committees that are always looking for volunteers! You can determine how involved you want to be, and you’ll definitely be able to expand your network of trust with valued colleagues near and far.

7. What do you wish you’d known when you started out in resource sharing (access services, etc.)?

You cannot effectively manage user expectations without knowing what your users’ expectations are. I’m a big proponent of doing periodic user surveys to get honest and anonymous feedback from my library users on different aspects of our document delivery and interlibrary loan services. This includes what we do well, how we might improve our services, and what value these services hold for our users’ research, teaching, coursework, etc. Identifying themes in survey question ratings and responses has guided significant changes to our policies, procedures, and request forms over the years and helped our interlibrary loan service earn a local reputation as “the greatest thing at the university” as we’ve repeatedly been told by our users!

8. How has your STARS membership helped you do your job?

Committee membership has been particularly valuable to me. I’ve served for several years on the Codes, Guidelines, and Technical Standards Committee helping update and evolve the Interlibrary Loan Code for the United States and its Explanatory Supplement. By offering multiple opportunities for community input, our collaborative and inclusive committee has incorporated people’s document suggestions into the Code reflecting contemporary expectations for requesting and supplying materials across all types of libraries. Becoming familiar with the ILL Code is tremendously helpful for all resource sharing practitioners, and joining the Codes committee has helped me to not only encounter a wide variety of colleagues to increase my own professional network but also better understand the resource sharing commonalities that bring libraries together in common purpose.

9. What are you reading?

Nothing at the moment! I instead use my free time to watch some of the many wonderful streaming series out there, like Andor, The Peripheral, The White Lotus, and The Crown. I am also addicted to watching non-English language shows like Lupin (France), Kingdom (South Korea), and Young Royals (Sweden) which convey a fascinating diversity of storytelling and human experience from all around the globe.

10. Share your favorite fun fact about yourself

My undergraduate degree is in International Affairs, and I’ve actively sought opportunities to engage with resource sharing practitioners in other countries since my career trajectory turned toward library work. Examples of my international work include participating in an exchange program between the Ohio State University Libraries and the Shanghai Library to learn about resource sharing in China, volunteering for the 2016 IFLA World Library and Information Congress as a social media assistant, and my latest passion of collaboratively curating the International ILL Toolkit which I created with colleagues in the OCLC SHARES consortium and am now promoting with the STARS International ILL Committee.