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Interlibrary Loan Code

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This code was adopted by LALINC and the State Library April 2, 1998, and by the LLA Executive Board June 12, 1998.

Although correlated with the ALA National Interlibrary Code (adopted February 8, 1994, published in RQ, Summer 1994, page 477-479) this code is intended to promote a more liberalized loan policy among libraries adopting it. It is based on the premise that lending among libraries is in the public interest and should be encouraged. However, liberal interlibrary lending should be no substitute for the development of adequate collections based on the needs of clientele of a library or a library system.


Interlibrary loans are transactions in which library materials are made available by one library to another; for the purposes of this code they also include the provision of copies as substitutes for loans of the original materials.

Use of the word "libraries" in this document means libraries of all types, including public, academic, special, school, business, learning resource center, and audiovisual centers.


The purpose of interlibrary loan as defined by this code is to obtain, upon request of a library user, materials not available in the user's local library at which the user has borrowing privileges.


A. Any type of library material may be requested on loan, except, at the discretion of each library, those listed in D below. The lending library has the privilege of deciding in each case whether the original or a copy should be sent. These decisions should be determined by the nature of the material, its physical condition, the degree of active demand for the material requested or other specific reasons.

B. Interlibrary loan is a mutual relationship and libraries must be willing to lend materials as freely as they borrow materials.

C. Each library should have an interlibrary loan policy statement that should be available upon request. If the library uses OCLC for interlibrary loan their policy should be in the Name Address Directory (NAD) of OCLC. If the library is a member of another interlibrary loan consortium, their policy should be available by the appropriate means used by that group.

D. Under the terms of this agreement, libraries may choose not to lend:

Books in current and/or recurring demand.
Reference materials.
Rare materials including manuscripts.
A large number of titles for one person at one time.
Bulky or fragile material.
Materials for class, reserve, group or other extended uses.
Materials which can be copied inexpensively.
Genealogical or heraldic materials.

A. It is recognized that interlibrary lending does not relieve any library of the responsibility of developing its own collection. Each library should provide resources to meet the ordinary study, educational, instructional, informational and research needs of its users. No library should depend upon another to supply the normal needs of its clientele except under agreement for such a service.

B. Borrowing libraries should make every effort to exhaust their own resources, including full text articles available to patrons in electronic format, before resorting to interlibrary loan.

C. Each library will inform its users of the purpose of interlibrary loan and of the library's interlibrary loan borrowing policy. Borrowing libraries should screen carefully all applications for loans, rejecting those which do not conform to this code or the library's policy statement.

D. The interlibrary loan staff of each library should follow accepted statewide procedures when requesting materials including:

Using standard bibliographic citations and formats when transmitting requests.
Sending requests following accepted methods of transmission.
Using the statement "cannot verify" when the item can not be verified and providing complete information about the original source of the citation.
Describing as completely as possible the requested material following accepted bibliographic practice.
Labeling all requests and shipments as "Interlibrary Loan" or "ILL".
E. The borrowing library is responsible for compliance with the Copyright Law (Title 17, U.S. Code) and its accompanying guidelines, and should inform its users of the applicable portions of the law. An indication of compliance must be provided with all photocopy requests.

F. The borrowing library should attempt to spread their borrowing requests to a broad number of libraries, with due consideration given to accepted practice or consortia agreements.

G. The safety of borrowed materials should be the responsibility of the borrowing library from the time the material leaves the lending library until it is received back at the lending library.

The borrowing library should be responsible for packaging the materials so as to ensure their return in good condition.
If damage or loss occurs, the borrowing library must meet all cost of repairs or replacement, in accordance with the preferences of the lending library.
H. The borrowing library and its users must comply with the conditions of loan established by the lending library. Unless specifically forbidden by the lending library, copying by the borrowing library is permitted provided it is in accordance with the Copyright Law and no damage to the original volume will result.

I. The borrowing library should be responsible for returning interlibrary loan material promptly and in good condition.

J. A renewal request should be sent in time to reach the lending library no later than the due date. If the lending library does not respond, it should be assumed that the renewal was not granted.

K. Borrowing libraries should inform their library users of their special reciprocal borrowing agreements with other libraries.

L. When returning a book to the lender the request form or some other means of identifying the material by the ILL number should be included with the book.

M. A borrowing library that requests RUSH material should assume the "nonstandard" cost incurred by the lending library to fill the rush request e.g., Priority Mail, commercial delivery services, fax, etc.


A. The decision to lend materials is at the discretion of the lending library. Each library is encouraged, however, to interpret as generously as possible its own lending policy with due consideration to the interests of its primary clientele.

B. The lending library should process requests promptly. The due date and any other conditions of the loan should be clearly stated. Material should be packaged and conspicuously labeled ILL. The lending library should promptly notify the requesting library if they are unable to fill a request.

C. The lending library should be responsible for honoring the requesting library's noted restrictions or cost limitations.

D. The lending library should state any conditions, and/or restriction on the use of the materials lent and specify if any special return packaging is required.

E. The delivery of materials should be by the most effective means available to the lending library to ensure timely receipt of materials.

F. A copy of the requesting library's request or some other means of identifying the material and the lending library's mailing label should be included in all materials that are sent out.

G. The duration of the loan, unless otherwise specified by the lending library, should be the period of time the item may remain with the borrowing library, disregarding the time spent in transit.

H. Each photocopy sent to a borrower should have a copyright protection statement stamped on it.


A. Each library should be responsible for maintaining the provisions of this code in good faith.

B. The lending library should be responsible for informing any borrowing library of its apparent failure to follow the provisions of this code.

C. Continued disregard of the provisions of this code should be sufficient reason for a lending library to suspend borrowing privileges of an offending library.