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June 27, 2024

The genesis of a sharing community 

On July 18, 1997, a flood caused over $140 million in damage to Colorado State University. The event prompted neighboring libraries to develop a service allowing Colorado State University to borrow missing resources. This service, RapidILL, eventually grew into a system for easily sharing materials among libraries. 

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Key initiatives since RapidILL’s acquisition 

In 2019, Ex Libris acquired RapidILL to further support its growth. Today, five years later, libraries from 29 countries are part of this international community. Ex Libris, part of Clarivate, celebrates that milestone by reflecting on key initiatives: 

  • During the COVID-19 pandemic, the RapidILL community fulfilled nearly 35 thousand requests by opening their collections to libraries around the world, ensuring continued access to needed resources. 
  • In 2021, the Ukraine initiative provided Ukrainian students and librarians with free access to resources during difficult times. 

“I can’t believe it’s been 5 years already. We’ve grown so much, doubling the number of customers, investing in RapidILL and integrations, working with ELUNA and IGeLU and establishing product working groups. So much has happened, and I’m excited to see what we achieve as a community in the next five years,” said Mike Richins, Director of Product Management at Ex Libris, part of Clarivate. 


Pictures from the London Ex Libris resource-sharing meeting on September 20, 2023,


The RapidILL community today 

  • A community of over 650 libraries 
  • Presence in 29 countries, with libraries that joined in 2023 from 10 new countries: Peru, Trinidad and Tobago, Croatia, Egypt, Netherlands, Spain, Sweden, Indonesia, Japan, and Thailand 
  • 1.76 million total requests in 2023, a 10% increase over 2022 

What is RapidILL? 

RapidILL is an interlibrary-loan system tailored for book chapters and articles. It integrates with the library’s ILL system to automate the lending and borrowing mediation process. Built around a community of reciprocal users, RapidILL has a request fulfillment rate of 96% and an average delivery time of less than 10 hours. 

Interested in joining the RapidILL community? Explore the library resource sharing platform.


Learn more about how Ex Libris integrated library system is transforming the library experience.

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