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Interlibrary Loan For Libraries

The West Virginia Interlibrary Loan (ILL) Request System allows public libraries within the state to borrow library materials from other public libraries and from the West Virginia Library Commission.  Fill out the ILL Request System form to request materials.  Contact Network Services for account information or to update library contact information. 

How to Request an ILL 

ILL Request System
Complete the form provided in the link above to request library materials from another public library within West Virginia or from the Library Commission.

FAQ for Libraries

  • What is interlibrary loan (ILL)? ILL is a service where a patron from one library and borrow library materials from another, lending library.  The lending library will set an due date and any associated costs for the material being borrowed.
  • How do requests come in to my library?  Interlibrary loan (ILL) requests come in through email from the ILL server.  In the emails, the service is identified as “Apache.” Request look like this:
  • How do I update my library’s contact information?  The contact information for the system is updated by the Library Commission Network Services Division.  Complete a HelpDesk Ticket to update information.
  • Are there costs associated with ILL?  Sometimes a lending library will have an associated cost with interlibrary loan, generally for postage.  Contact the library first if you a unsure about costs.

Interlibrary Loan Best Practices

Developed by the West Virginia Library Commission and the Reference and Interlibrary Loan Roundtable of the West Virginia Library Association - 2007.

Interlibrary loan service is essential to the vitality of libraries of all types and sizes. It provides every library an opportunity to reach beyond the local collection to meet the information needs of the community. West Virginia Interlibrary Loan Best Practices, in conjunction with the Interlibrary Loan Code for the United States, assists libraries in West Virginia to share resources within a framework of mutual understanding and good faith. 
  • Become familiar with and adhere to the Interlibrary Loan Code for the United States.
  • Have a written Interlibrary Loan policy. A written policy is essential for every library. It provides staff and patrons with a consistent plan of action. The policy may be simple or elaborate but needs to address the following points:
    • What materials in the collection are loaned.
    • What materials in the collection are photocopied.
    • The length of the circulation period for the loan.
    • Renewal of interlibrary loans.
    • Procedures for overdue or loast interlibrary loan materials.
    • The eligibility of patrons for Interlibrary loans.
      • In public libraries, all registered patrons in good standing should be eligible for interlibrary loan, including children and young adults.
      • Section V of the Library Bill of Rights  states that "A person's right to use a library should not be denied or abridged because of origin, age, background, or views." The ALA interpretation of "use" includes services as well as materials and facilities.
    • Limits on number of patron interlibrary loan requests.
    • Photocopying, postage, and/or service fees for interlibrary loans.
    • Subject requests
  • Be as liberal and nonrestrictive as possible. Lend unto others, as you would have others lend unto you. The item you refuse to lend today may be the same type item one of your patrons requests tomorrow. Materials often not available on interlibrary loan are:
    • Books in current and/or recurring demandBulky or fragile materials
    • Rare materials
    • A large number of titles for one person at any one time
    • Genealogical materials.
    • Reference materials.  A library may consent to loan a reference book or other item but limit it to use in the borrowing library. The policy designates the person responsible for making such decisions. Promptly return, with an explanation, requests for materials that are on loan, missing, or not available for loan.
  • Be a responsible borrower.
    • Requesting Libraries should exhaust local resources before initiating an interlibrary loan request.
    • If the book is in print, consider buying it instead of requesting it on ILL. This helps develop a collection based on patrons' needs. Interlibrary loan is not a substitute for collection development at the local level.
    • Do not request current bestsellers. Local demand takes precedence over interlibrary loan requests.
    • If you own the item and it's checked out, consider placing a local hold for your own patron.
    • If your copy is lost, consider buying a replacement.
    • Check full text databases online for journal articles, e.g. WV Info Depot
    • Verify format, citations and holdings.  Clearly identify the specific format requested, e.g., VHS, DVD, CD, Cassette, Large print, etc.
    • Do not request electronic books.
    • Suggest reciprocal borrowing as an alternative to ILL. If a nearby library owns the book, consider asking the patron to visit the owning institution to check out the book.
    • The Borrowing Library is always responsible for requested items, including materials lost in the mail, on the courier, or by the patron.
    • The Borrowing Library is responsible for copyright adherence.
  • Use large libraries as a last resort. In other words, only use Kanawha County Public Library, Cabell County Public Library, West Virginia University, Marshall University, etc., only if there are no other owners. If there are other owners, request from them first - spread the load around the state.
  • Use electronic methods to request items. An interlibrary loan management system (IMS) such as OCLC ILLiad is essential for many medium to large libraries. Consortia may develop electronic forms and/or procedures for member libraries. Fax requests should be a last resort. Avoid phone requests if at all possible.
  • Be a responsible lender.
    • Do not charge other West Virginia libraries for ILL if at all possible.Respond to requests promptly, daily if possible. If a request cannot be filled, include the reason with the response.
    • Supply the format that was requested.
    • Honor the requesting library's cost and use limits.
    • Verify copyright compliance.
    • Package the material in a way that prevents damage during shipping. Include any special packaging instructions.  
Improving the process of interlibrary loan is worthless unless service to the patron is also improved. A library's policies and regulations should not create barriers that shut out the user in an effort to keep everything neat and tidy within the library. In reviewing the above guidelines, remember that what is convenient for the staff, is not always what is best for the patron. The library exists to serve patrons. 

Interlibrary Loan and Copyright Law

Federal Copyright Law (PL94-553; Title 17, United States Code) requires libraries to post a notice of warning concerning copyright restrictions (preferably near the copying machine) and to indicate compliance with sections 107 and 108 of the law on interlibrary loan request forms. At least a paraphrase of the following warning should be included in the written interlibrary loan policy.  

Warning Concerning Copyright Restrictions

The copyright law of the United States (Title 17, United States Code) governs the making of photocopies or other reproduction of copyrighted material. Under certain conditions specified in the law, libraries and archives are authorized to furnish a photocopy or other reproduction. One of these specific conditions is that the photocopy or reproduction is not to be "used for any purpose other than private study, scholarship, or research." If a user makes a request for, or later uses, a photocopy or reproduction for purposes in excess of "fair use", that user may be liable for copyright infringement. This institution reserves the right to refuse to accept a copying order if, in its judgment, fulfillment of the order would involve violation of copyright law.
Periodical Articles Guidelines developed by the National Commission on New Technological Uses of Copyrighted Works (CONTU)  specify that, during one calendar year, no more than five copies may be received from any one work whose publication date is within five years of the date of the patron's request.
Sections of Books Chapters or sections of books may be copied if the library does not receive more than five requests for copies from the same work from any individual library, during a calendar year.
Entire Works Libraries may copy an entire work if the library determines that another copy is not available or cannot be obtained at a fair price "Fair price" is not precisely defined. The copy of the work becomes the property of the user for private study, scholarship, or research only.
Retention of Request Forms CONTU Guidelines require libraries to retain the current calendar year's records of filled requests for copies or reproductions, plus the records of filled requests for the previous three calendar years. This requirement only applies to requests for copies or reproductions and not to loan requests.
Electronic Resource Licensing and Interlibrary Loan Increasingly, copies are provided from electronic resources. Because many of these electronic products are licensed and not owned by the library, uses for interlibrary loan activity may be prohibited by the license agreement. Libraries should try to ensure that license agreements contain language that permits use for interlibrary loan.
Questions and comments may be directed to State Library Services at (304) 558-2045.