Want a book we don’t have? We can borrow it for you from another Library!

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.

Computer Help at your Library

Do you still struggle with using your computer?

Not exactly sure how to find reliable information online?

Do you want an email account, but are a bit afraid of Internet safety?

Do you need to create a PowerPoint presentation or an Excel spreadsheet, but don’t know how to use those programs?

Do you need help with social networking, like Facebook, LinkedIn or Pinterest?

Do you have an iPad, but can’t figure out how to download e-books?

Your library can help with free classes and handouts!

For basic computer help from turning it on to searching the Internet or creating an email account, the Florence Branch offers four programs each month:

  • You Can Compute – to learn all the basics of using a computer and the mouse
  • Internet I – find out how to get connected and get to the vast amount of information online
  • Internet II – learn how to use search engines to find websites
  • Email – discover the ease of using email and leave with a free account

The classes run on the first four Thursdays of each month at 1 p.m. at the Florence Branch. It’s the perfect way to get started using a computer.

Do you need help with any of the Microsoft Office 2013 programs, like Word, Excel or PowerPoint? The Main Library offers these classes multiple times a year:

  • Excel Basics and Excel II – get up and running with this powerful spreadsheet program. Create charts, track expenses, perform math calculations, address lists, and more!
  • Word I and Word II – though the Main Library still has a typewriter, most people use word processing programs like Word to create resumes, posters, newsletters, and write papers. Discover everything from finding your way around the toolbar ribbons to using different fonts and WordArt to make your documents standout.
  • PowerPoint – this is the industry standard for making presentations to share information. You will learn how to create dynamic slides with animations and images to get your point across.

Watch the Discover newsletter or check http://www.bcpl.org/info/computer-classes/for dates and times.

One-on-One help

If you can’t make it to a class or need help using a device, like your iPad or e-reader, you can contact the Library to set up a one-on-one appointment and get the help you need at your convenience. Our staff are trained and ready to help you get up to speed, so you can feel confident using the Internet, email, or downloading books and music to your device.

One more way to help

On our Information Desk/Computer Classes page – http://www.bcpl.org/info/computer-classes/, we have many helpful handouts for the all classes we offer, plus social networking:

As you can see, we have lots of ways for you to keep your computer from gathering dust! The world is moving into a technology driven future and you can stay safe online, while finding and sharing information. Just contact any BCPL location or look at our handouts for more help. We’re here for you!


Jinny Ussel is the Library’s Training and Design Specialist and a self-professed techno-nerd. She spends her days using a computer and often spends her nights online learning something new.