Interlibrary loan is a service to patrons and not intended to replace collection development. It’s a tool that can balance unequal distribution of resources in Wyoming. All libraries across Wyoming are encouraged to lend as freely as possible. The desired outcome is liberal interlibrary lending among participating libraries. This Best Practices document is designed to give library staff guidelines necessary for the best use of interlibrary loan services. It provides a common understanding for libraries.
Best Practices for All Libraries
- Libraries should adhere to the Interlibrary Loan Code for the United States (ILL Code).
- All libraries are responsible for maintaining the privacy of users. (ILL code 4.2)
- All libraries are responsible for compliance with the copyright law (Title 17, U.S. Code) and its accompanying guidelines. Users should be informed of any portions of the law that are applicable to them. An indication of compliance must be provided with all copy requests. (ILL code 4.8)
- All libraries should maintain accurate and complete cataloging and holdings information for their collections. The sharing of this information with other libraries contributes to the success of Interlibrary Loan.
- Library staff should monitor interlibrary loan statistics to determine items in demand and collection areas in need of further development.
Best Practices for Requesting Libraries
- Library staff should not judge the importance of materials requested by a user so long as such requests fall within the broad parameters of library service. An attempt should be made to obtain such materials even if the material is not appropriate for the collection of the requesting library.
- Users should be educated about the availability of Interlibrary Loan and the library’s requesting process.
- All borrowed material is subject to recall by the loaning library and should be returned promptly. (ILL code 4.14)
- A library’s ILL borrowing policy should reflect its ILL lending policy. A library should not request to borrow material types or new items if it is unwilling to lend them.
- To ensure awareness of a library’s ILL policies, the library shall make those policies readily available. (ILL code 4.1)
- A patron’s special needs, in respect to the material being borrowed, should be stated in the loan request.
- The safety of loaned materials is the responsibility of the borrowing library from the time the material leaves the lender until it is returned and received by the lender. Both the lender and the borrower are responsible for packaging materials well and for clearly marking the package as an interlibrary loan. If damage or loss occurs, the borrowing library must meet all costs of repair or replacement, in accordance with the preferences of the lender. (ILL code 4.9)
- Libraries should exhaust all print and electronic resources at the local level before requesting from libraries outside their region or the state. Library staff should use their discretion in obtaining materials for their patrons in as timely a fashion as possible.
- The borrowing library is responsible for honoring the due date and enforcing any restrictions specified by the lending library. The lender’s due date is defined as the date the item is due to be checked-in at the lending library. (ILL code 4.12)
- Renewals should be requested prior to the due date. If the lending library does not respond, the borrowing library may assume the renewal has been granted and may extend the due date by the same length of time as the original loan period. (ILL code 4.13)
- Electronic transmission of requests is preferred. ALA request forms may be faxed or emailed. The borrowing library should include a mailing label with mailed request. Phone or e-mail requests should be submitted only when the lending library has indicated it will accept such requests.
Best Practices for Supplying Libraries
- When a lending library imposes special restrictions or fees on a loan, a conditional reply should be sent to the borrowing library prior to shipping the material. This will enable the borrowing library to make sure the restrictions or fees being imposed are acceptable to their patron.
- The lending library should indicate the due date and special return packaging or shipping requirements. The due date is defined as the date the material is due to be checked-in at the lending library. Due dates should allow reasonable time for delivery and patron use. (ILL code 5.7)
- The lending library may recall loaned material at any time. (ILL code 5.10)
- The lending library should process requests in a timely manner that recognizes the needs of the borrowing library and/or the requirements of the electronic network or transmission system being used. If unable to fill a request, the lending library should respond promptly and state the reason the request cannot be filled. (ILL code 5.5)
Updated August 2017