Interlibrary Loan Borrowing Policy


  • Interlibrary Loan (ILL) is a method of resource sharing between library systems/districts within the U.S. In the Lancaster Library District, the ILL Department will only lend or borrow print materials, microfilm, or copies of materials abiding by copyright restrictions.
  • Resource sharing among libraries in Pennsylvania is in the public’s interest and should be encouraged. Interlibrary loan is a privilege and should serve as an adjunct to, not as a substitute for, collection development.
  • Member libraries should take reasonable steps to provide access with their own resources and submit ILL requests in good faith, according to state ILL guidelines.

 Patron eligibility for ILL

  • Must have an active Library System of Lancaster County (LSLC) library card in good

standing (no fines, no blocks, unexpired)

  • Welcome Cards, Internet Use Only Cards, Non-Resident Cards, etc. are not eligible.
  • Must reside in Lancaster County. Patrons from outside the county are ineligible for ILL service.
  • Must be 18 years of age or older
  • Must have an active telephone number in their patron record
    • If voice communication is not possible, the patron must provide an active email address

 Items eligible for ILL

  • Print books, except as noted below
  • Journal articles
  • Microfilm

 Items ineligible for ILL or unlikely to be fulfilled

  • eBooks and digital audiobooks
  • AV materials – DVDs, CDs, Audiobooks, etc.
  • Newly published titles (less than a year from date of publication)
  • Items in any format, cataloged in LSLC’s Integrated Library System
    • Exceptions: Items that are missing, withdrawn, or billed and overdue for 60+ days
  • If a requested ILL item is available for free online, the ILL Librarian will inform the patron of this prior to submitting the request and encourage them to access it via this option.
  • Textbooks (unlikely to be fulfilled)
  • Rare items or items in special collections (unlikely to be fulfilled)
  • Specific editions of titles may not be available


  • Every effort will be made to obtain requested items at no cost. If the lending library charges fees, those will be passed on to the patron but the ILL Librarian will confirm this with the patron prior to finalizing the request.
  • Patrons may receive 20 free ILL borrowing transactions in a calendar year.
    • After 20 transactions, the patron will be responsible for paying a $5 fee per request
    • There will be an absolute limit of 40 submissions per calendar year
    • Patrons will be notified before they hit the 20/40 limits.
  • If a patron does not pick up a requested ILL title before the due date, they will be charged a fee of $25.
  • Overdue fees are $1 per day
    • 3 days past the due date, the patron will receive a $25 fine plus the cost to replace the item, potentially refundable upon its return within a reasonable amount of time, determined by the ILL Librarian.
  • Lost or damaged ILL materials will result in a nonrefundable fee of $25 plus the cost to replace the item and any other fees incurred by the lending library.

 Loss of ILL privilege

  • The loss or destruction of an ILL item may result in permanent suspension of ILL borrowing privileges.
  • Any ILL item returned late without prior communication with the ILL department may result in a 3 month suspension of ILL privileges, determined by the ILL Librarian.

 Process for submitting an ILL request

  • ILL requests must be made in person at any public library in Lancaster County.
  • The patron must have a signed ILL Borrowing Agreement on file noted in their account. If there is no agreement on file, or the agreement has changed, the patron must sign the ILL Borrowing Agreement, the staff member should then add/update the ILL Agreement field in the patron’s record, and afterwards the staff member must send it to the ILL Department for retention.
  • The patron must provide their name, library barcode number, a valid telephone number where they can be reached (unless voice communication is not possible in which case an email address is required), pickup library, and relevant item information. It is the staff member’s responsibility to confirm that the patron’s account information is up to date.
  • ILL requests must be submitted through Sierra by a library staff member.
  • ILL requests usually take between 2 and 8 weeks to arrive from the date of submission, but may take longer. The ILL Librarian is unable to estimate when an item will arrive and is never able to guarantee when an item will arrive.
  • The lending library determines the conditions of their approval of the ILL request and may deny the request for any reason. The lending library sets the due date for their item and the ILL Librarian is unable to alter it. ILL items are not renewable.
  • Any ILL request may be denied due to resource constraints. The patron will be notified of any request cancellation.
  • Patrons and library staff must abide by all copyright laws as they relate to ILL requests.