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  • Writer's pictureMichael Ireland

Interlibrary Loan

Updated: Jan 3

There are few things worse than hearing about a book that really piques your interest and not being able to find it in the catalog. Often a Librarian will have the magic touch and locate it in our system, but sometimes our library and consortium members simply don’t carry it. Whether it’s due to rarity or age, some materials aren’t available locally. But wait! Before you visit a mega-online retailer to purchase that little gem let us borrow that book for you! With our Interlibrary Loan system, we can request books of all sorts from all around the country.

Cover for "Tape Op" Book

I was browsing the world wide web the other day with the intent of finding a new book to read. I already have several books competing for my time, but interests shift occasionally and I find myself with too many books and too little time. I was thrilled to learn about “Tape Op: The Book About Creative Music Recording”, a collection of interviews and articles from the magazine of the same name. I immediately searched the library’s catalog but came up with nothing. Not being easily dissuaded, I tried to refine my search several times. No luck. But rather than admit defeat and resign myself to purchasing a book I wasn’t sure I’d want to own, I submitted an ILL request through the library’s website.

WorldCat Logo

So how does it all work you may be wondering? Once you place an ILL request either over the phone, through our website, or in person our staff searches a huge catalog called WorldCat to find a library that has what you’re looking for. WorldCat encompasses over fifteen thousand different libraries’ catalogs from around the world! If we can find a library that will lend it to us, we’ll lend it to you. My copy of “Tape Op” came from the Nashville Public Library. Pretty cool!

There are a few important things to keep in mind when requesting items through ILL.

  • In order to keep requests manageable patrons are only allowed to have three ILLs checked out to their account at a time. Additional requests will be waitlisted.

  • Items released less than 1 year prior to your request cannot be fulfilled. Rather, we’ll place a purchase request to see if the item would be beneficial to our collection.

  • DVDs, Blu-rays, Cassettes, VHS, and video games are not eligible for ILL.

  • When you come to pick up your item it won’t be on the shelf with your regular holds but must be picked up from the circulation desk.

  • Because an ILL is lent to us from another library, we need to coordinate with them on extending your checkout time if you require a renewal. This means you’ll need to notify us as early as possible if you would like a renewal.

  • While we generally don’t charge late fines for our items, uncollected ILLs will incur a $5 fine to offset the shipping cost. So make sure that if you request it, you pick it up.

  • Lastly, the little slip attached to the front of your item has our temporary barcode and other important information regarding your ILL. It’s important that the slip stays with the item when returned.

You can find more information about our ILL policy and submit requests here.

Books on their side

“Tape Op” was absolute fire. I loved the book and am considering purchasing both volumes so I can share them with friends. One last thing to keep in mind. Much like our own library system here in the Treasure Valley, no library can hold every book. Despite our staff's best efforts there are times we aren't able to procure what you're looking for. Have you used our ILL service? Any amazing reads you’ve been able to get or any far-out libraries you’ve seen items come from? Let us know in the comments.

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