Over at Boing Boing, Cory Doctorow sings the praises of interlibrary loan:
Denizens of BushcraftUK discuss Willie Sundqvist's "Swedish Carving Techniques," a rare tome that goes for £100 and more. Then one of them has the bright idea of asking his local library to get one through Interlibrary Loan, the original P2P file-sharing network, and shortly thereafter, he gets a copy to read, courtesy of the Seattle Public Library. Go libraries!
What is he talking about? In the United States, interlibrary loan is a program in which different library systems across the country loan items to each other upon patron request, usually at no additional charge.
Sometimes my patrons' eyes bug out when I introduce them about this service--which is a wonderful experience. I've used it myself to order everything from dissertations to obscure pocket manga.
Practically speaking, if you want almost any book and are willing to wait a few weeks, you can get it. And that's totally neatorama.