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ILL FAQ
Interlibrary Loan Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What is Interlibrary Loan?
  2. Who is eligible for ILL?
  3. How do I place an ILL request?
  4. How do we decide where to get your request from?
  5. Is there a charge for this service?
  6. How long does it take to get ILL material?
  7. What is the loan period?
  8. May I get best sellers through ILL?
  9. Is it possible to obtain photocopies of magazine or newspaper articles through ILL?
  10. Are genealogical materials available through ILL?
  11. May I renew material?
  12. Where may I return ILL material?
  13. What is the late fee on ILL material?
  14. May I borrow Audio Visual materials through interlibrary loan?
  15. How do I obtain more information about ILL services?

What is Interlibrary Loan?

Interlibrary Loan (ILL) is the borrowing and lending of materials between libraries to supplement collections. It may be used to borrow materials that are not available within the collections of the eiNetwork's participating libraries and is frequently used for the purposes of research.

Who is eligible for ILL?

Any cardholder of the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh or participating libraries of the eiNetwork may place an Interlibrary Loan request.

How do I place an ILL request?

Interlibrary Loan request forms are available at any Department or Branch of the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh as well as eiNetwork libraries. Library staff will assist you in determining if the title you wish to borrow is appropriate for Interlibrary Loan. Forms are also available online.

How do we decide where to get your request from?

After you place your request, we search an online library database to determine the item's availability. When we find a match, we make an online request with up to ten libraries for the material, usually starting with libraries located in Pennsylvania and then branching out across the country.

Is there a charge for this service?

There is often no charge to obtain materials from other libraries. However, some libraries do have lending fees which we must pass along to you. That is why we request that you indicate on the ILL request form, the maximum cost that you are willing to pay in order to borrow the item. Most transactions will be free. However, when there is a charge, it is often in the $10-$15 range.

Please note that if you indicate that you are willing to pay a fee to receive material, we must charge you that amount whether you pick the item up or not. This is done because the lending library has charged us to borrow their material and we are responsible to pay that cost regardless if it is used or not. If you are no longer willing to pay for material, please notify either the library you requested the title from or e-mail the Interlibrary Loan Department immediately so we can cancel the request.

How long does it take to get ILL material?

Since we need to deal with libraries outside of our system to receive ILL materials, we ask that you please allow a minimum of four to six weeks for your request to be filled. If a lot of libraries have a particular title, it may arrive before four weeks while popular titles that may already be checked out and harder-to-find items such as genealogy may take longer than six weeks.

What is the loan period?

Loan periods range from one week to one month and are set by the lending library.

May I get best sellers through ILL?

Since most libraries are unwilling to lend current year material, we cannot accept requests for current year fiction and current year audiovisuals. We would rather consider purchasing these materials than try to borrow them through ILL. Library staff will help you determine if the title you are seeking is new. If it is, we request that you fill out a New Title Consideration Form, which is available in every Department or Branch of the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh as well as through the catalog.

Is it possible to obtain photocopies of magazine or newspaper articles through ILL?

We can get copies if you provide:

  1. The title of the article.
  2. The author of the article.
  3. The name of the periodical.
  4. The volume, date and pages.

The library has many indexes to help you if you do not have complete information. Most libraries charge a fee for photocopying. When you place your request, please indicate the maximum amount that you are willing to pay for a copy of the article.

Are genealogical materials available through ILL?

Although most libraries do not loan local history and genealogical items, we will accept requests for them. However, it may take considerable time for us to determine whether we will be able to borrow genealogical materials.

May I renew material?

If you are interested in renewing items, please notify your lending library before the due date. They will contact us and we will contact the library we borrowed the material from to see if it can be renewed. This process usually takes a few days. After we are notified, we will contact your library and they will notify you if the items were renewed or if they need to be returned. Please note that materials cannot be renewed online. All renewal request must be made with the lending library.

Where may I return ILL material?

All Interlibrary Loan material must be returned to the department, branch or district library from which it was borrowed. ILL books are not part of the Access Pennsylvania program and should not be returned to any other library.

What is the late fee on ILL material?

Late fees of 25 cents per day per title are charged for overdue Interlibrary Loan books while late fees on videos are $1 per day. If the lending library charges an additional overdue fee, we must pass the charge on to you. Local district late fees on materials may vary.

Please be aware that if interlibrary loan material is not returned, the lending library may charge a high processing fee in addition to the actual cost of the item.

May I borrow Audio Visual materials through interlibrary loan?

Many libraries do not loan audio visuals. However, we will accept requests but cannot guarantee finding a lender.

How do I obtain more information about ILL services?

Contact any Department or Branch of the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh. You can also obtain more information at your local district library.

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