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Interlibrary Loan

box of books

The Mid-Continent Public Library provides a free-of-charge interlibrary loan (ILL) service which allows customers to obtain materials from other libraries throughout the United States which are not owned by MCPL. This service is provided through the WorldCat online database.


What is interlibrary loan (ILL)?
"Interlibrary loan is the process by which a library requests material from, or supplies material to, another library." (Interlibrary Loan Code for the United States. ALA, 2001)

Are materials loaned from one MCPL branch to another considered interlibrary loans?
No, all materials owned by MCPL are loaned through regular holds procedures. Please be sure MCPL does not own an item by searching the online catalog before making an ILL request.

Who can use the interlibrary loan service?
Any customer with a valid MCPL card in good standing may request materials through ILL.

What is available through interlibrary loan?
Books, movies, sound recordings, microfilm, photocopies, and more are available through ILL. MCPL will attempt to borrow from other library systems (locally, regionally and nationally) titles that MCPL does not own, does not plan to purchase, or only has non-circulating copies available.

What is not available through interlibrary loan?
Lending policies vary from library to library. Many libraries will not lend audiovisual materials of any kind, local history or genealogy materials, reference materials, current year publications or bestsellers, and materials from special collections. Blu-ray and Blu-ray 3D DVDs are not widely lent, and while we will attempt to request those formats, we may only receive the regular DVD version. While every effort will be made to locate the desired material, finding a library willing to lend is not guaranteed.

How are interlibrary loan requests placed?
Once a customer has determined that the Mid-Continent Public Library does not own the desired material, the WorldCat online database may be searched. Patrons may place interlibrary loan requests through WorldCat.

How long does it take to receive an interlibrary loan request?
The average turnaround time for an ILL request is about 2-3 weeks from the date of submission to the date of arrival at the customer's branch for pickup. Some ILL requests can take much longer, as materials may not be readily available from regional lenders. (Please make only one request per title. Duplicate requests slow down the process.)

Are customers notified when interlibrary loan materials are available?
Yes. Customers are notified of available ILL holds in the same manner as regular holds. They will receive a notice by email or mail, according to the customer's preference.

Is the checkout period for interlibrary loan materials the same as that for most MCPL materials? (28 days)
No. All ILL materials have a 2-week loan period.

May the loan period on interlibrary loan materials be extended?
Yes, in many cases the lending library will grant one renewal on an item although this is not guaranteed. Contact any MCPL branch to request renewal of ILL materials. Requests for renewal should be made before the due date if possible. If the item has a pink "No Renewal" sticker it cannot be renewed.

Where do customers return interlibrary loan materials?
ILL materials may be returned at any MCPL branch library. ILL materials must never be returned in a bookdrop.

Is there a charge if an interlibrary loan item is not returned or returned damaged?
Yes, the charge is $75. This price covers the cost of replacing the item plus any processing fees the lending library may charge.

What if an interlibrary loan request is no longer needed?
Customers must contact MCPL staff to cancel an ILL request. Holds for materials requested though interlibrary loan removed through the MCPL Online Catalog user account will not cancel the WorldCat request.

Why do some interlibrary loan requests go unfilled?
In most cases, lenders cannot be found for an item because the item is either: on loan; missing; non-circulating; on hold; or involves a fee. Mid-Continent Public Library only sends borrowing requests to libraries which do not charge fees. However, if a customer is willing to pay the borrowing fee, an attempt will be made to acquire the item.

In the event that a request goes unfilled, a notice will be sent directly to the patron. Customers who wish to resubmit a request for an out-of-system item that has been cancelled are instructed to retain the notice and contact the branch.

Service Type
Branch Services
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