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Interlibrary Loan (ILL) FAQ's

What is interlibrary loan (ILL)?
Who may use ILL service?
What kinds of materials can be borrowed through ILL?
What kinds of materials cannot normally be borrowed?
What if the item is recently published?
Are magazines available through ILL?
How much does ILL cost?
How do I request materials through ILL?
What if I need information on a particular subject but don't have an exact title?
What if I no longer need an item I requested?
How long will it take to receive my ILL request?
How will I know when my materials arrive?
How long may I keep ILL items?
What if I'm not finished with the item by its due date?
Why can't you get what I've requested?

What if I receive items that we did not request?


What is interlibrary loan (ILL)?

An Interlibrary Loan (ILL) transaction is a request to borrow from another library system or institution, any books or other materials, which are not available to borrow in your library's catalog.   Because SCLS shares so widely through its LINKcat shared online catalog, we sometimes also use the term Outerlibrary Loan (OLL) to refer to the process of requesting items outside of LINKcat.

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Who may use ILL service?

Interlibrary Loan (ILL) is a borrowing privilege available to residents of the counties that comprise the South Central Library System (SCLS).  These counties are Adams, Columbia, Dane, Green, Portage, Sauk, and Wood.  Library patrons who live in these seven counties are encouraged to work with their local SCLS library to request items through ILL; a valid library card from one of these SCLS member libraries will be required in order to process the request.

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What kinds of materials can be borrowed through ILL?

ILL requests are accepted for most items that are not found in your library catalog, including books, magazine or newspaper articles, audio books, videos, music cassettes and CDs. However, many libraries do not lend audiovisual materials, so such items may not be obtainable through ILL. Items published within the last six (6) months may not be requested.

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What kinds of materials cannot normally be borrowed?

Libraries generally do not lend materials published within the last six (6) months, non-circulating and reference materials, genealogical materials, newspapers in original format (newspapers may usually be borrowed on microfilm), whole issues of magazines, computer software and games, rare or valuable items, and items from special collections.

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What if the item is recently published?

Items published within the last six (6) months may not be requested. However, you may recommend that your local library purchase this title. You may request that the library reserve the item for you if it is purchased, or wait six (6) months from the publication date to request it through ILL.

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Are magazines available through ILL?

Although whole issues of magazines are available for checkout in your library's catalog most other libraries will not lend an entire issue of a magazine, but may provide photocopies of individual articles. Thus, when requesting a magazine not available in the library's catalog, please include article information. If a particular article is not desired, but a copy of the table of contents will suffice, please request that. In addition, many full-text magazine and journal articles are available in the Ebscohost databases. ProQuest contains many full-text newspaper articles.

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How much does ILL cost?

There is no direct charge to the library patron for ILL services.  In fact, it is the position of the Division for Libraries and Technology (of the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction) that public libraries cannot charge customers for ILL services.  However, borrowers are responsible for overdue charges incurred or for any charges incurred for lost or damaged items.  Requesting libraries are able to specify that ILL items are borrowed from sources where no postal charges will be incurred (libraries within Wisconsin or those that use the Minitex system).

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How do I request materials through ILL?

If you have not found the title you need in your library's catalog, you may submit an ILL request at your local public library. Please provide as much information as possible to help identify the specific item that you are seeking, such as the title, author, publisher, etc. Many full-text magazine and journal articles can be found in EBSCOhost. Newspaper articles are available in ProQuest. If the article you want is not available in these databases, you may submit an ILL request for a copy of the article. When submitting a request, please include all of the citation information given in the source of your citation. Titles published within the last six (6) months, with the exception of magazine/newspaper articles, may not be requested.

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What if I need information on a particular subject but don't have an exact title?

Your local public library staff can help you find information on a particular subject.

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What if I no longer need an item I requested?

Please call your local library staff.

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How long will it take to receive my ILL request?

Delivery of ILL items can take from 2 - 6 weeks depending on the location of the item, its availability at the lending library and the lending library's response time. Because the process is dependent upon responses from other institutions and delivery systems, delivery time may vary greatly. Some materials, e.g. items that are difficult to locate, may take considerably longer than average. Some items may never become available for borrowing. Try to allow adequate lead-time when making a request. If you have a specific deadline by which you need the material, let the library know that when placing your request.  Staff will try to obtain the item by that date, or will cancel the request and notify you if it cannot be obtained within that time. Also staff will notify you if the requested title cannot be obtained.

To check on the status of your request you may call your local library.  Please wait at least two (2) weeks before inquiring about the status of your ILL request.

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How will I know when my materials arrive?

Library patrons will be notified when the item is available for pickup.  Customers will also be notified if we cannot obtain an item.

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How long may I keep ILL items for use?

The loan period for all ILL materials is determined by the lending library, generally from 1-4 weeks.  Some reference materials may be restricted to "Library use only" by the lending library and may not be checked out for use at home.

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What if I'm not finished with the item by its due date?

Because most libraries already give extended loan periods for ILL materials, renewal requests are not encouraged.  If needed, please contact your local library with requests for extended borrowing at least two (2) days prior to the due date.  However, sometimes the owning library does not allow renewals.

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Why can't you get what I've requested?

Sometimes the item is in use.  Sometimes the library will not lend it because it is a reference item and must be used in the library.  Sometimes the library says "no" without giving a reason. Sometimes we cannot find a library that owns the requested title.  Please remember that not every library that owns a particular item will lend it via ILL.  Refer to "What kinds of materials cannot normally be borrowed?" for further information.

 

What if I receive items that we did not request?

We make every attempt to get lending libraries to heed the "Ship To" addresses in our ILL requests. However that doesn't always happen.  If you receive an item that your library did not request please follow the steps below:

1) Check the paperwork for 'Patron' information.  If an SCLS library's name is listed as the patron (e.g. Patron: Library, Sauk City) please forward the item in delivery directly to that library's OLL department.  If just a name is listed as the patron (e.g. Patron: Smith, Marie) forward item to Madison Public Library's OLL department.

2) If no patron information is listed please call the OLL Clearinghouse - 608-266-6302 or email Beth Price at bprice@scls.lib.wi.us and we can tell you where to forward the item.

3) If you don't have time to contact the OLL office, send the item in delivery to to us (Attn:OLL) and we will route it to the correct library.

If you're continually receiving items from a library that you shouldn't please be sure to let us know and we will contact that library. 

 


For more information about interlibrary loan, contact Jean Anderson.