Approved by the Board of Trustees May 24, 2016


Interlibrary loan (ILL) is a service that allows St. Joseph Public Library (SJPL) patrons to borrow physical books in print and audio from other libraries.  Lending libraries have their own policies concerning interlibrary loans and we abide by them in regard to the materials they lend to our library.

A maximum of five interlibrary loans may be checked out at any given time.  Most materials arrive in 2-7 days, but many can take 2-4 weeks, depending on the nature of the material requested, and the geographic location of the library owning the material.  Patrons should notify a librarian if an item is needed by a specific date.

SJPL does not charge a fee for interlibrary loan services.  However, some libraries do attach a lending fee to their materials, which normally ranges anywhere from $5-$20.  Priority is given to libraries that do not charge, but if a fee is charged it will be passed on to the library patron.  Patrons should indicate the amount they are willing to pay when they make the ILL request.  If costs are expected to exceed the authorized amount, a librarian will contact the patron before the request is completed.  Libraries may charge for overdue books.  These costs are passed on to the library patron who has the overdue material.  Patrons who have ILLs that are a month or more overdue will lose ILL borrowing privileges.  If SJPL pays a lending library for an overdue ILL, the patron will be responsible for that bill regardless of whether they return the item later or not.  Payments occur only after all reasonable attempts to retrieve materials have been made.  If a book is lost or damaged while checked out to a patron, they will be charged for the cost of the replacement or repair.

Patrons are notified by phone, email, or US mail when ILL material is available for checkout.  Materials should be picked up promptly, or the library should be notified if it is no longer needed.  Failure to pick up three ILLs within a 12-month period will result in the loss of ILL borrowing privileges.  Patrons will be notified if a request cannot be filled.

All libraries have certain materials they prefer not to loan.  These items include: entire issues or volumes of periodicals and journals, reference and reserve items, audiovisual materials and rare or fragile materials.  Some libraries have restrictions on genealogy, doctoral dissertations, popular fiction books and books published in the last 6 months.  In addition, the Copyright Law (Title 17, U.S. Code) governs the making of photocopies or other reproductions of copyrighted material.  To remain in compliance with this law, no library or archives may request more than five articles per year from a given periodical published within the previous five years.  SJPL reserves the right to refuse a copying request if, in our judgment, fulfillment of the request would violate copyright law.

SJPL does not loan reference material, books published less than 6 months ago or audiovisual material.  Titles owned by SJPL will not be ordered by Interlibrary Loan unless it is (a) very overdue/missing or (b) additional copies are needed for a book club.  Patrons’ cards must be in good standing to check out ILL material, i.e. the card should not be blocked due to overdue material and a patron must be making regular payments on bills for lost or damaged library material.

Each lending library has its own due dates that apply to ILL requests.  These due dates range anywhere from 2 to 6 weeks.  It is important that materials be returned on time and in good shape in order to maintain good relationships with other libraries.  It may be possible to renew ILL material, but is subject to approval by the lending library.  Once a renewal is requested, patrons may keep the material until contacted by the Interlibrary Loan Librarian with a new due date or other instructions.  Patrons should contact the library before the material is due to request a renewal.