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Interlibrary Loan Services (ILL)
Policies for Patrons

Purpose of Interlibrary Loan
Interlibrary loan (ILL) acquires books, photocopies of non-circulating materials (such as magazine articles), and government publications not already owned by the public libraries of Jefferson County for library patrons.

ILL request may be submitted at any public library in Jefferson County.

Hours of operation

Monday - Friday 9:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
Saturday - Sunday    Closed

Eligible Users
Interlibrary Loan is available to anyone 18 years of age or older how has a current, unflagged Jefferson County Public Library Card.

Cost
This service is free of charge.  Occasionally, however, the lending library will charge a fee.  The patron may preauthorize acceptance of any fees on the ILL request form or be notified of any fees before the material is ordered.

How to use Interlibrary Loan
Thagg Gets ILL
a video that shows how easy it is to use ILL (produced by BPL)

Search the library catalog first to see if the material you need is owned by a public library in Jefferson County, Ala.

If none of the public libraries in Jefferson County own the material you want, go to a public library in Jefferson County and ask a librarian for the Interlibrary Loan form. You will pick up and return the materials at the library from which you place your request.

Fill out the form completely.

  • Give an accurate bibliographic citation and the source of each reference.
  • Provide your library card number, name, phone number, and address.
  • Fill out a separate form for each item you want.
  • Forms that are illegible, incomplete, or have inaccurate citations delay the process.
Turn in the completed form(s) at your local library.
You also may go to FirstSearch. Search for the title you want. Click on  this icon: ILL. Fill out the form and submit.

The ILL Office will locate the material you want and will request it from another library. The library where you submitted your request for ILL service will contact you when the materials are ready for pickup.

Restrictions
To insure that requests are processed promptly, please limit requests to four (4) "in-process" at a time.  For books, in-process is the time from when a request is made until the time is returned to the library.  For photocopies, the transaction is complete when they are picked up by the patron.

The following materials cannot be requested through Interlibrary Loan:

  • entire issues of a periodical
  • most genealogical material
  • current-year materials
  • audiovisual material
  • reference books
  • textbooks
National, regional, and state ILL codes may restrict or limit borrowing in some cases, i.e., picture or easy books, sound recordings, and other audiovisual material, multiple copies of books, and photocopies of more than five articles from a single periodical published within the past five years.

Time
Please plan ahead.  Most requests are filled within 7-10 days.  However, delays are common and there is no guarantee that a request can be filled.  Lending libraries may take up to 28 days to respond to a loan request.

Materials may be unavailable at the lending library, or the first owning library contacted may choose no the loan the material.  In such cases, a second, and sometimes and third, library must be contacted.  A sudden influx of ILL requests may also slow the process.

Reinitiating Request
A patron may ask that an unfilled request by reinitiated.  However, the Interlibrary Loan Staff must first determine if there is sufficient reason to expect a second request to be filled.  The patron may be ask to provide additional information or to agree to some reset condition established by the lending library (for example, in-library use only or an increased lending fee).

Notification
When the material arrives, the patron is notified either by telephone or by email.  Materials received through ILL are picked up at the library specified on the request form.  Materials not picked up within 7 days after notification of arrival will be returned to the lending library.

At the time of pick-up, you will be asked to sign a log sheet acknowledging receipt of the requested material.  Any fees charged by the lending library must be paid at this time.

Loan Periods and Due Dates
The loan period for books is determined by the lending library.  The due date is indicated on the paper wrapped around the item's cover.   This wrapper should be left intact to accurate and prompt processing of the loan.  Material should be returned by the due date to the circulation desk of any library in the Public Libraries in Jefferson County system.  Borrowers who disregard due dates jeopardize their Interlibrary Loan borrowing privileges.

Patrons will be charged one dollar ($1.00) per day for each day that an Interlibrary Loan book is overdue, with a maximum fine of $25.00 per item.

Loan Recalls
The lending library retains the right to request the immediate return of any material it has loaned to the Birmingham Public Library and the public libraries of Jefferson County at any time before the original due date given.  In these rare instances, Interlibrary Loan will contact the patron and inform them of the new due date.  The patron will owe an overdue fine for any materials returned after this newly established due date.

Renewal Request
A patron may ask that the loan period of a borrowed item be extended.  Any request for renewals must be made before the due date.  The lending library determines the length of time, if any, the loan period may be extended.  Many items borrowed through ILL are clearly marked "NO RENEWAL."  No attempt will be made to extend the loan period of these times. To renew call (205) 226-3730 or write to ill@bham.lib.al.us

Lost/Damaged Materials
The lending library will determine the replacement cost of any lost or damaged material.