Thursday, September 18, 2008

Random Thursday- Interlibrary Loan

Yesterday I mentioned Interlibrary Loan. What is Interlibrary Loan, and why would you want to use it?

First, Interlibrary Loan is usually called ILL in libraries. It's a lot faster!

You use ILL when there's something you want thats (a) NOT available in the library system in your city and (b) it IS available in a library system in another city.

Right now, I have two classic knitting reference books checked out from ILL. One came from the Texas Tech library, and the other from the Forest Grove City Library in California. They're really old books, and neither is available from any library in Nevada.

Another reason I've used ILL is to get old out-of print fiction books. I found out that one of my favorite (famous) science fiction authors had written an entire series of western mysteries under a different name. LVCCLD didn't have any of of those titles, and they were long out of print. I was able to borrow a bunch of battered paperbacks from other libraries, and read the (pretty good) books!

Genealogists are huge users of ILL. ILL is the easiest way to get an obituary from another city and state. You don't have to know the name of the newspaper or the phone number of the library. Just visit your own library, fill out the obituary request, and your library will send that off to the correct library in the other state. It takes about an hour on microfilm to find an obituary (which is why libraries really don't want you to call them and say "Can you look up an obituary for me?"). That other library will send back what they find. (Obituaries are tough for a few reasons. They're time consuming, because even when you have the exact date of the person's death, you don't have any idea when or if an obituary was printed. When we look for an obituary, we start looking at the papers on the date of death, and work forward about 2 weeks, trying to find the obituary. Often, we don't find one. Did you know that newspapers don't print obituaries automatically? The family must request that the paper print an obituary, and give the newspaper the text to print. Long gone are the days when "Everyone in town knew that good old Bob Smith had passed on, and the newspaper editor dashed of a long, heartfelt obituary celebrating old Bob's life.")

The other most used reason for ILL is finding articles from journals and magazines. LVCCLD subscribes to a LOT of magazines, and databases of archived magazine, journal and newspaper articles. But, we don't have access to everything. If you find an article that you want to read, you can request it through ILL. You'll need the exact title of the article, and the exact title and date of the journal or magazine it's in, but the request is usually fast. The other library will usually fax or email a copy of the article so you can have it in just a couple days!

ILL has a lot of other uses, but those are the biggies.

So, give ILL a try! Did the last copy of your favorite book just disappear from the library shelves? Request it through ILL!

Here are the directions to use ILL on the Las Vegas Clark County Library District:
Go to the library web page:

Click on Interlibrary Loan, on the left side of the web page. (It's toward the bottom of the first dark brown section)

If you are asking for a book, click on "Books, Conference Procedings and Dissertations."

If you know the ISBN (that makes it really fast!) click on ISBN.

Enter the ISBN.

Click on "View Search Results".

Click ON the title of the item you're interested in.

This where people get confused. Ignore EVERYTHING on this page! The only thing you're looking for is the REQUEST button. It's at the top of the page, toward the middle. Click the REQUEST button.

The computer will think for a moment, then ask you for your library card number and PIN.

This is the final page! You can leave the "I don't need this after" date blank. The ILL department will keep your request open until they fill it or they determine that they can't fill it.

Type the name of the library where you'd like to pick up the item, in the Comment box. (That gets it to your library faster!)

It usually takes one to four weeks for an ILL requested item to arrive.

There are some rules and limitations on ILL, but generally it's easy, free and a life-saver when you just want to read one of those old books that our library doesn't have any longer!

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