Interlibrary Loan FAQ
Are you always able to find an interlibrary loan request?
No. Some items just can’t be found. Genealogical materials cannot always be filled. Obscure reference items are sometimes impossible to fill. Brand new books are generally difficult to get, because most libraries have restrictions on lending out newly-published items. Some large academic and public libraries charge an additional fee, as well, which may be prohibitive.
How long may I keep the book once it’s here?
Due dates are established by the lending library. We have to honor their established dates. Sometimes we are able to request a renewal. But many lending libraries will not lend beyond the initial due date. We do all we can to honor the lending library’s policy, because we want to maintain good relationships with all our lenders.
How much are overdue fines?
$.50 per day. And please be aware we will call you about this item if it is overdue. We are obligated to get these items back to their lenders in a timely fashion.
What happens if I lose my interlibrary loan book?
Perish the thought! Do not lose it! J
An interlibrary loan book is extremely expensive to replace. Not only is there the fee for the item’s cost, but there will be a processing fee, as well, which will all be passed along to you. So keep track of the interlibrary loan item, and return it on or before the due date.
What is Interlibrary Loan?
Interlibrary Loan is a cooperative service between libraries through which materials may be obtained. If HMCPL does not have the materials that you need we will be happy to set up an interlibrary loan for you.
Requesting an Interlibrary Loan is easy. All you need is your library card (in good standing).
You can request books that circulate and photocopies. You may also request microfilm. Most libraries will not loan special collections material, videos, reference material, or new books. New books are books that have been in a library's collection for fewer than six months.
You can place your request online at http://hmcpl.org/loan/request We will gladly take interlibrary loan requests over the phone at (256) 532-5967. However, patrons who have more than two loan requests should come to their local branch in person.
There is a small charge for items loaned between libraries, to cover the cost of shipping your request from one library system to another. You will need to pay this fee to pick up your item when it arrives:
- $3.00 per book
- $1.00 per microfilm roll
- $1.00 for photocopies
- $3.00 for 20 or more pages of photocopies
(In addition, special libraries, medical libraries, and some university libraries charge a fee for loans or photocopies. Those fees will be passed to you, in addition to our fee. Usually, if there is an additional fee, you will be contacted before the material comes in.)
Generally it takes 2-4 weeks for materials to come in. Genealogy material may take two to three months. (Most libraries will not loan genealogy material. If you are looking for specific names, please put these on the request and we will request photocopies for you.) Some factors that determine how long your item will take to arrive:
- The item's distance from Huntsville. We will try to locate your item in the State of Alabama library system first, but if your requested item isn't available in Alabama, we will then search nationwide. A nationwide search will take longer to find and longer to ship.
- If the book is currently checked out at the owning library, a reserve will be placed on it for you, and it will be shipped when the current borrower returns it.
- If a book is requested, but is determined to be 'lost' at the owning library, it will then be ordered from another library.
- The postal service. All requests must go through the postal service, and mail is sometimes lost or misdirected.