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Interlibrary Loan Procedures for Rochester Public Library Patrons

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FAQ/Procedures for Rochester Public Library Patrons

Who may use interlibrary loan services?

  • Patrons with a valid Rochester Public Library [RPL] card or other Minnesota library card registered at RPL may request interlibrary loan materials. Patrons with blocked cards due to fees in excess of $10 are not permitted to make interlibrary loan requests.
  • Rochester residents without library cards need to register for a library card before making interlibrary loan requests.
  • Library users with temporary visitor cards are not eligible for interlibrary loan services.
  • Interlibrary loan materials received at RPL will not be delivered to other SELCO libraries.
  • Library users with cards from other Minnesota libraries may request RPL materials for delivery to their home library through MNLINK. To use MNLINK, the library user must have a valid library card (not delinquent due to fines, expiration, etc.) from their home library.

Is there a limit on the number of interlibrary loan requests?

The MNLINK interlibrary loan system limits RPL borrowers to 20 requests, which includes pending requests and received requests.

Interlibrary loan requests to libraries outside of Minnesota are limited to 10 requests per month.

Which types of materials are available for requesting through interlibrary loan?

Any type of material can be requested, with the following exceptions:

  • Blu-ray discs can be requested from libraries in the MNLINK region only. 
  • New titles (published in the last six months) are generally considered for purchase at RPL, instead of requesting from another library. For recently published materials, use the Recommend a Purchase form instead of placing an interlibrary loan request.
  • If we own a copy of the requested title, but it is currently checked out, requests will be put on the waiting list for the RPL copy. Exceptions may be made for book clubs, class assignments, or before some other urgent deadline.
  • Reference and genealogy books (family and local histories) are generally not available to borrow from other libraries. Copies of specific sections may be requested.
  • Photocopies of articles are limited by copyright law. A library may only request up to five articles copied from a particular journal, if the articles have been published in the last 5 years.
  • Online and electronic titles (such as eBooks) cannot be borrowed from other libraries due to copyright laws. If electronic titles are requested through ILL, lending libraries will often send the physical book.
  • Items in high demand - such as current best sellers and recent award winners - are often not available to borrow from other libraries.

Which libraries will lend materials to RPL?

RPL borrows materials through the following library networks or systems (in order of preference):

  • SELCO/SELS: Southeastern Minnesota public and school libraries
  • MINITEX: a network of lending libraries in Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Wisconsin libraries, including the University of Minnesota and Minnesota public and private colleges. Requests are made through MNLINK.
  • OCLC: a national network of lending libraries across the United States. Some institutions charge a fee for out-of-state loans, which patrons are required to pay.
  • MISCELLANEOUS LENDERS: historical societies, private and special libraries, and libraries not participating in OCLC.

How are interlibrary loan requests submitted?

  • For ILL requests for books, CDs, and DVDs, use the MNLINK search option. After finding a title at another library, submit the request with your library card number. If the search is not successful, use the interlibrary loan form to submit a request.
  • For copy and microfilm requests (from magazines, newspapers, journals, non-circulating books), use the interlibrary loan form. Patrons have the option of sending articles electronically to a designated email account.
  • Interlibrary loan requests will not appear on your RPL account until the item is received at RPL. Patrons may track the status of their MNLINK requests on the MNLINK website.

Is there a charge for making interlibrary loan requests?

  • If the title is available through MNLINK, there will be no charge.
  • For other states, we first try free lenders on the OCLC lending network. If there is a charge from the lending library through OCLC, patrons are required to pay this fee.
  • Patrons are notified before sending any request that requires payment of a fee; these fees vary, and are set by the lending library.
  • Many historical society archives, college and private/special libraries have lending fees.

How long does it take to receive interlibrary loan requests?

  • The average time for receiving materials is approximately seven days, if the title is currently available from the lending library. The waiting time varies depending on which library is lending the materials. If the waiting time has been over three weeks since your request, contact the Interlibrary Loan department to check the status of your request.
  • Other libraries will only supply your request if their copy is immediately available. They will not place a hold on it.

How will I be notified when the requested material arrives at RPL?

  • Interlibrary loan requests follow the same notification procedure as RPL reserved materials. Patrons with email notification set up on their registration information will receive an email notification, and patrons without email notification receive an automated message. If the automated notification is not successful, a mail notice is sent.
  • When the item arrives, it will appear as "available" on your online reserve list in my account.
  • EXCEPTIONS: Patrons who request microfilm or copies are notified individually by interlibrary loan staff through email, phone, or mail.

Will I be notified if the requested item is not available?

Patrons are notified by email, telephone, or mail if requested materials are not available for lending. MNLINK requests are also updated to “currently unavailable through MNLINK” on your MNLINK account if not supplied. You may contact ILL staff if you wish to know why your request was not supplied.

RPL staff will try out-of-state libraries upon request. It may take several weeks to determine that the requested title is not available. Commonly unavailable types of materials are:

  • Feature films or TV series on DVD
  • Popular music on CD
  • Reference and genealogy books (scanned copies of specific sections may be an option)
  • New and/or high demand titles (RPL will consider for purchase)
  • Rare items

How long is the loan period for interlibrary loan materials? Are renewals possible?

  • The due date is set by the lending library and ranges from one week to three months, with three to four weeks being the average lending period. It is important to note that due dates are set when they leave the lending library, not when the item is picked up at RPL. RPL holds the requested items ten days for pick up before returning the lending library.
  • Due dates for materials are listed on your RPL online account and on the due date slip with the item. (NOTE: the due date listed on MNLINK is the date the item needs to be back to the lending library, not the date is is due at RPL.)
  • Interlibrary loan item due dates can be extended for one week by contacting the interlibrary loan staff. For longer renewals, staff can contact the lending library to request an extension if possible.
  • Music CDs and feature film DVDs are generally not renewable beyond one week. Interlibrary loan materials cannot be renewed by patrons on the RPL online account.

Where are interlibrary loan materials returned?

Please return all interlibrary loan materials the circulation desk on the first floor of the main library or at the Bookmobile.

Interlibrary loan materials returned to other libraries will not be removed from your account until they arrive back at RPL.

Are overdue fees charged for interlibrary loan materials?

  • Overdue fees are the same as charges for RPL materials (currently 25 cents per day).
  • Lost or damaged materials borrowed from other libraries will result in a default charge of $50 to your account. Please contact the ILL department to get the actual charge. (The University of Minnesota libraries currently charge $110 for every lost title; other libraries may charge higher or lower amounts.)
  • Patrons who return interlibrary loan materials consistently late, lose materials, or don’t pick up requested materials will be denied further interlibrary loan privileges.
  • Consistent misuse of the MNLINK system, such as frequent placing of requests for items RPL owns, or placing duplicate requests, will also result in being barred from using MNLINK to make future interlibrary loan requests.