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InterLibrary Loan

What is ILL?

InterLibrary Loan (ILL) is how different libraries share material with one another to meet patron needs. We can get things for you that we could not purchase or we don’t have the space for.


How does it work?

We use a huge shared catalog, OCLC WorldCat, to locate materials. Our staff then uses OCLC’s Resource Sharing system to identify libraries willing to loan, and then places and manages ILL requests. Materials come from all over the country by mail, but mostly from other libraries in Ohio through a courier service.


What materials can I get?

Books and some journal articles. We cannot guarantee that anyone will loan anything. The more “widely held” an item is – the more libraries owning it – the better the chances.


What materials can’t I get?

  • Audiovisual materials (except audiobooks).
  • Anything we already own or plan to order.
  • Newer materials, rare books, reference books, current textbooks, e-books or issues of magazines.
  • Also, most libraries will not consider requests for items that are checked out [at the time of the request].


What will it cost me?

Most of the time, this is a free service. If we find the item in a library we have an agreement with, there is no fee.


If we cannot locate a free loan anywhere, we ask if you are willing to pay the fee before we place the request.


How long will it take for my request to arrive?

That depends on how rapidly other libraries respond to our request and how they ship it. This is out of our control but most requests are filled within 1 – 3 weeks. We will contact you if your request cannot be filled.


Please do not make ILL requests if you are planning to leave town for an extended period as we can only hold them for 5 – 6 days before sending them back.


How many ILLs can I request at once?

Patrons may have three active ILL requests (pending, in process, or checked out) at any one time. Processing ILL requests takes more staff time and library money than processing holds on our own materials.


How long can I keep them?

Three weeks. Renewals on ILL books are not permitted because they do not belong to us – they need to be returned swiftly to the lending libraries. Overdue fine is 25¢ per day.

  • If your ILL is not returned in a timely manner, we call to remind you. If your ILL is more than a week overdue, we block your card.
  • If you lose or damage the item, ALPL must replace or pay for it, and we bill you accordingly.


What if I’m not done with it? Can I request it again?

We must wait six months before re-requesting.


How do I get an ILL? Three options:

  • Talk with us at the Reference Desk.
  • Call the Reference Desk at 440.933.8128 (option 5 or x248 or x249).
  • E-mail the Reference Desk at


You need a valid ALPL library card and we need your current phone number in order to place your request.


August 4, 2009