What is Interlibrary Loan?
Interlibrary Loan (ILL) is a service that allows our customers to borrow materials that are not available through the network of CLEVNET libraries.
ILL is different from regular requests that come from CLEVNET libraries. It takes longer to get ILL materials because they come from different libraries across the United States, the due dates are typically shorter, the material is checked out to you before pickup, and ILL items are not renewable.
While every attempt is made to obtain requested materials, we cannot guarantee an ILL request will be filled.
Who can make an Interlibrary Loan Request?
Any customer with a current, valid CLEVNET library card in good standing can ask to submit an ILL request. A reference librarian at any of our four Heights Libraries branches can submit the request for a customer to our ILL Department. (Please note that unlike regular CLEVNET holds, customers cannot submit their own ILL requests through the online catalog. ILL requests must be submitted through a reference librarian over the phone or in person.)
Also, we ask that customers make sure their contact information is current, including mailing address, email address, and phone number. If the ILL Department can’t reach you, we will be unable to notify you that requested material is available.
Where do Interlibrary Loan items come from?
Libraries that own items not available to borrow through CLEVNET qualify as possible ILL lenders. We are only able to submit requests for materials owned by lending libraries in the contiguous 48 states of the United States (i.e., no items come from Alaska or Hawaii, and we cannot request from libraries in Canada, Mexico, or other international locations).
We do not know where an item will come from specifically until the request is filled. A number of factors may determine whether or not a library is willing and able to lend an item, so just because a library that is part of the ILL network may own an item does not mean they may be willing to lend it.
What kinds of materials can be requested through Interlibrary Loan?
We can submit requests for materials that are not available through CLEVNET, but may be available from a library in our ILL network.
We are able to request the following item types:
- Books on CD
- Music scores
- VHS cassettes
- Individual journal articles
We are not able to request:
- Entire journals, journal volumes, or issues
- Materials held in reference, rare book, or special collections
- Vinyl records (LPs)
- Computer or electronic files, including e-books
Please note that while some items may be eligible to request, there may be reasons why a library is unwilling to lend them. Requests for items that are new (published within the last two years), items that are over 100 years old, items with borrowing restrictions (e.g., reading room or local use only), and audiovisual materials are often less likely to be filled.
How long does an Interlibrary Loan request take to get filled?
Typically, from the time a request is submitted, a customer can expect to wait 4-6 weeks to hear if and when an ILL request has been filled. The ILL Department will contact customers either way. If a request has been filled, you will be notified that the item is ready for pickup, at which point you will have five (5) days to pick up the item from your desired pickup location. If a request is unfilled, the ILL Department will notify you as soon as they hear that the item is not available for borrowing.
What happens when an Interlibrary Loan item is available for pickup?
The ILL Department will contact you by phone or by email, depending on what method you preferred at the time of the request. The item will be available to pick up at the Customer Service (Circulation) desk at the desired branch you specified at the time of the request. (We are unable to send ILL items for pickup at locations other than our four Heights Libraries branches.) You will have five (5) days from the time you are notified to pick up your ILL item. Please speak to a staff member at the desk and let them know an ILL item has arrived for you. You will fill out some short paperwork and then be able to take your ILL item with you.
How many Interlibrary Loan Requests can a customer submit?
Because of the time-intensive nature of ILL requests, each customer is limited to five (5) pending/active requests/checkouts at any one time. That means, for instance, that if you have two (2) ILL items currently checked out, and one (1) request you are still waiting for, you have two (2) remaining slots available for you to submit additional requests. You are welcome to submit as many requests as you like at any given time, but the ILL Department will only process up to five (5) requests/checkouts for a single customer at one time, and any additional requests will be placed in queue until borrowed ILL items are returned to free up an ILL slot. That means that those requests submitted above the five (5) pending/active limit may take longer than 4-6 weeks, depending on how quickly ILL items arrive to fill requests in queue or how quickly borrowed items are returned.
Please note that ILL requests are processed in the order they are received. Therefore, if you have multiple requests and would like to prioritize a particular request over your other requests, please ask the librarian submitting your requests to submit the priority request first before submitting other requests.
Anything else a borrower should know?
Please return ILL items on time. Fines on ILL items are $1.00 per day late. Due dates are set by the owning library, and may be shorter than regular CLEVNET items. Because the items come from outside of our normal network of libraries, we need to be good stewards of other libraries’ materials in order to keep borrowing from them in the future.
ILL items are not renewable. If you find that you need more time with a particular item, you may submit another request for the same title once that ILL item has been returned.
ILL items also need to be returned in person at the branch location where they were picked up. (Please note that ILL items cannot be returned in the bookdrop.) The paperwork you filled out at the time of pickup follows the item and ensures that both the borrower and Heights Libraries staff acknowledge that an item was picked up and returned, including the pickup and return dates.
Any fees assessed to Heights Libraries for lost, damaged, or late material will be attached to your library account.
If you no longer need the material, please notify the ILL Department as soon as possible so the request can be canceled.