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Case study: Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising

Track down the "unattainable"

"I love working with Alibris; they are the 'go-to' vendor I can rely on. Through Book Fetch, they have tracked down titles I thought were unattainable. Our collection satisfies the often unique and specialized information needs of our campus community as a result of our collaboration with Alibris for Libraries."

Lucy Bellamy, Head Librarian, Education Services
Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising
Los Angeles, California

Finding the really hard-to-find

The Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising (FIDM) Library, founded in 1975, is the largest specialized fashion library in the western United States. Our print and electronic collection of over 2.5 million titles encompasses all subject areas, with emphasis in fashion, interior design, retailing, and costume.

I am frequently responding to requests for titles that I have never heard of. Many of these are to support historical research needs and can be very difficult to find. But 9.5 times out of 10, I find what I need in these specialized areas from the independent booksellers who work with Alibris.

How Alibris Supports the FIDM Library

Alibris is a fantastic resource for us in four different ways.

  • Title by title search. Sometimes I need to find esoteric titles. For example, I had a request for a book about the designer John Galliano and through the Alibris network I found what I was looking for. I build up a shopping cart on Alibris and order two or three times a month. Some of the titles are out of print, but many of them are new.
  • Collection development. For some of the areas in which we collect there are few titles published and the publishers are not easy to find. I provide Alibris with a list of subject areas and they send me a bibliography of titles that are available. Subjects range from costume history to graphic and interior design, apparel manufacturing, and textile design. This service saves me an incredible amount of time and finds titles I might otherwise never have known about.
  • Book Fetch. If I need a book Alibris doesn't have they will work through their network of booksellers to try to locate the title in the condition I've specified. Through Book Fetch Alibris has tracked down titles I thought were unattainable.
  • Rapid delivery and ability to use purchase orders. Our quarters are just 11 weeks long so we need to meet student needs quickly. I am required to use purchase orders and invoices; I can't use a credit card. Alibris makes it easy to purchase with a PO-whether I'm ordering an exhibition catalog or a new title I saw in a publishers' catalog or at a library trade show-and they send the invoice with the shipment. Ordering direct from publishers or museums/galleries can take months if they have to invoice and receive payment before shipping the title.

I love working with Alibris; they are the 'go-to' vendor I can rely on. I have started to use their services in a more efficient way that helps us create a better collection. I know I will receive assistance in a helpful and consistent manner. It's much more than just accumulating titles in a cart. When it comes to ensuring our collection meets the needs of all our constituents-industry professionals, students, faculty, and staff-I check Alibris first.

Alibris for Libraries has absolutely earned FIDM's continued business as they consistently provide customer service and attention above and beyond our expectations. Our collection satisfies the often unique and specialized information needs of our campus community as a result of our collaboration with Alibris for Libraries.