Have you ever wanted to read a book that is not offered by BCPL? Interlibrary Loan (ILL) is a service that allows BCPL to borrow books, music, DVDs, microfilm and even photocopies from other libraries. This is different than, and often confused with, borrowing from branches within the BCPL system (Scheben, Lents, Florence, Walton, Main, Chapin). The Interlibrary Loan extends beyond Boone County to include libraries across the country and occasionally outside of the United States.
If an item is not found in the BCPL catalog, an ILL request can be placed by filling out the appropriate ILL form on the BCPL webpage or by clicking http://www.bcpl.org/forms/. The ILL department will first determine if the requested item should be added to the BCPL collection. If it is not a good fit for BCPL, the ILL department begins the search for a library that owns the item. After acquiring a list of libraries that own it, the ILL department places a borrowing request for the item, one library at a time, to avoid multiple copies being sent. The owning libraries are not obligated to lend an item so the search continues until a library agrees to lend it or the search is unfilled. When a library agrees to lend an item, they are identified as the “lending library”. They then ship the item to BCPL, and the ILL department temporarily adds it to the BCPL system allowing it to be checked out. If no library agrees to lend the item, the search is stopped and the patron is contacted. The ILL process can take up to 6 weeks from the date a request is submitted.
The lending library determines the due date and any fees for borrowing the item, although in most cases, the libraries do not charge a fee to lend the item. On occasion a fee will be charged if a patron is requesting photocopies, microfilm or a rare item. The ILL department will contact the patron first to see if they agree to pay the fee. If they agree to it, the fee is charged to their account and must be paid before the item is checked out to them. If an item is rare, the lending library can dictate that the item be labeled as “in-library use only” which means the item cannot be checked out, but can be used inside BCPL.
A renewal can be requested for an ILL, but should be done five days in advance of the current due date. The lending library will either issue a new due date or deny the renewal. When the patron is finished with the item, they can return it to any BCPL branch, and it will be sent back to the ILL department which is located at the Main Branch. The ILL department will then return the item to the lending library.
The Interlibrary Loan service is free to Boone County residents that are at least 18 years of age and have a library card in good standing. Although the service is free, a $15 fee will be charged to a patron’s account if they request an Interlibrary Loan, but do not pick it up by the due date. Therefore, the patron should be sure their account is updated with the correct contact information.
In addition to borrowing books, the Interlibrary Loan service lends BCPL books to other libraries in the United States.
Jennifer Cheek has worked for Boone County Public Library for 3 years. A graduate from the College of Mount St. Joseph focusing on English and Communications, she previously worked in Advertising/Media Buying and still continues as a freelancer.