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No Book? No Problem! Try Out ILL.

You are looking for a specific book and ask a library staffer if the library has it.  You hope for “Yes, we have it right here!” but you might expect a “No, sorry, we don’t have that one.”  You might also hear another option: “But we could ILL it for you.” 


Yeah, sure…but what does “ILL” mean?


ILL refers to Interlibrary Loans—one library loaning a book to another library for the sake of a patron. So if our library doesn’t have a book and isn’t likely to get it, we can ask another library if they have it and might loan it to us so you can read it. 


Cool, eh? 


Of course, there are lots of rules and procedures involved, like with everything else, but basically, if we don’t have a book you want, ask for an ILL!  We’ll try to get it for you that way.


The difference between ILL items and our own is that we are borrowing from someone else, so they have their own rules about books, and we have to respect them (or they stop loaning).  Some libraries have short loan times, some long times, some will renew, and some won’t; it takes anywhere from a couple of days to a couple of months to get someone to loan a particular book, so there is no way to say when you will get a request. 


Sometimes, no one has it to lend out.  But usually, someone will come up with it. Here are some things to remember:


  • A requested item needs to be a BOOK (occasionally, some libraries will loan other items, but because media tends to break easily in transport or is too popular to lend out for very long, few bother).

  • The book generally needs to be at least a year old. (No one wants to lend out their new stuff before their own patrons get to see it!) [If it is a new title, you can request that LVPL get it; we’ll look into it].

  • Only three requests per patron at a time (both requests being processed and books received and checked out).  If you need to read books in order, then you should ask for one at a time (since there is no way to know which books will arrive first or how long you can have them out).

  • Please pick up the book promptly when it arrives. If you change your mind about the book right after requesting it, sometimes we can catch the request and stop it, but otherwise, it will go through a process of lenders, borrowers, and deliverers…

  • Please keep the ILL book strap on the book. It has tracking information, dates, etc., that we need.

  • Please return the book before or when it is due. If you need to renew and the book strap has no note about No Renewals, ask for a renewal a week before it is due. Earlier won’t help you much, and after the due date, it won’t get you the renewal, but it usually takes a couple of days for the lending library to respond. You can also return ILL books in the book drop.

  • Remember, if you damage, lose, or do not return the book in a timely fashion, you will owe the lending library for the book.  They send an invoice/bill (we don’t have anything to do with their price or policy).

It’s really pretty easy; you need to be a thoughtful borrower!  ILLs come from other libraries in Texas or even throughout the country.  We do not borrow from San Antonio Public Library; however, because of the proximity and because most Leon Valley Public Library patrons can also get a card and check out books directly from San Antonio Public Library (and even ILL from them as well!).

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