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Interlibrary Loan FAQs


What is Interlibrary Loan?
Interlibrary loan is a service whereby a user of one library can borrow books or receive photocopies if documents that are owned by another library.
The user makes a request with their local library, which identifies owners of the desired item, places the request, receives the item, makes it available to the user, and arranges for its return.
Although books and journal articles are the most frequently requested items, some libraries will lend audiobooks, videos, maps, sheet music and microfilm and microfiche. In many cases, nominal fees may accompany interlibrary loan services.

What materials can be obtained?
The following materials can be obtained through ILL:

  • Books
  • Videorecordings
  • Sound recordings
  • Microfilm and microfiche
  • Photocopies of articles and book chapters
  • Dissertations and theses
  • Musical scores

The materials below cannot generally be acquired through ILL:

  • New books
    • Please wait to place request until at least 3 months have passed from the item's publication date.
  • Geneaology materials
    • We cannot obtain geneaology material through ILL.
    • Many state historical societies have a research by mail departments that can be accessed through their websites.
  • Electronic books (eBooks)
    • Try Listen Alaska, Project Gutenberg, The Online Books Page, Google Books or Read Print for eBooks available in the public domain.
  • Online electronic resources: computer software, video games, computer-oriented or interactive media.
  • Rare books
    • You may have to travel to a library that has the book.
    • If the rare book is loaned, its use is often restricted and must remain inside our library.
  • Reference materials
    • Many of these items are not circulated. The table of contents or several pages might be photocopied and sent.
    • If reference items are loaned, their use is often restricted and must remain inside our Library.
  • Titles not yet published
    • Please check online for projected publication date, then wait at least 3 months before requesting the item.
  • Books that the Homer Public Library owns
    • Don't forget to check our online catalog (located in the top right corner of this screen). If we have it, place a hold on it or check it out if it's available!

Who is eligible?
Homer Public Library patrons are eligible.
In order to submit a request you must have a current valid Homer Public Library card and no overdue materials or fines.

What costs are involved?
Homer Public Library Interlibrary Services attempts to borrow materials as economically as possible and is usually able to provide ILL service for the cost of mailing. The charge is $2.00 for books and $4.00 for audiovisual (A/V) materials and all other items that require Priority shipping. Unusually heavy items or multi-volume sets will be charged actual postage costs. HPL fees for books and A/V materials must be paid at the time of pick-up. Photocopies may be forwarded to you electronically via email at no charge. However, if printing is needed, there is a $0.15 per page fee, payable at the time of receipt.

If you do not retrieve your materials, your library card will be charged. We will not cover the cost of lost or damaged materials, rush fees, special service fees, or repair/replacement costs. If your item is only available from libraries that charge additional fees, we will contact you before ordering.

How do I submit a request for a book, audiobook or video?
To submit a request for a book, audiobook or video you may:

  • Complete a written request form at the library's circulation desk.
  • Or search for items and place requests by accessing the WorldCat database from the HPL web page.

ILL requests will not be accepted via email or over the telephone.

Having troubles? Contact Interlibrary Services.

How do I request articles from a magazine or journal?
You may complete a written request form at the library's circulation desk.
Contact Interlibrary Services for assistance at (907) 435-3194.

How long will it take to receive my materials?

  • Book requests average between 1 to 8 weeks to arrive, depending on the source of the material.
  • Photocopy requests may take from 2 days to 2 weeks to arrive depending upon which library can supply the item and how it will be delivered (electronically or by mail).
  • Audio/Visual materials (audiobooks and movies) may take longer to obtain. Many libraries will not lend their A/V materials to other libraries, so finding a source usually takes a little longer than for book requests. If you need A/V material rushed or for a specific date, you may want to consider finding a source other than ILL for your material, such as purchasing the item yourself or renting from a local video store.

How do I check the status of my request?
If you need information about your requests, please contact Interlibrary Services.

Online: Before placing your ILL requests online, you may create a personal account within FirstSearch that will allow you to track your request! Please contact Interlibrary Services at 435-3194 for assistance with creating an account. (This option is currently unavailable. Please contact us by phone, email, or in person until further notice.)
Telephone: 435-3194. This phone has voice mail so it is available 24 hours a day. Please leave your first and last name, information indicating the book or photocopy you requested, and your phone number.
In Person: The library is located at 500 Hazel Avenue. Library hours are M/W/F/Sa 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. and T/Th 10:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.

How long may I keep the materials?
Loan periods are determined by the lending library. Standard loan periods are 2 weeks for books and 1 week for audiobooks and videos.

Your check-out period begins when your item is received and you have been notified of its arrival.

Due dates are determined by the lending library and, as a general rule, items are not renewable.

What if I have overdue materials?

  • If you have interlibrary loan material that is overdue, you will be charged a daily fee and a notice will be sent to you.
  • You will be blocked from further ILL activity until all fees are paid.
  • If an item has not been returned 3 weeks after its due date, it will be invoiced to you for replacement fees. When an item has been invoiced, a block is placed on your library account. This block suspends all library privileges. When the item is returned or paid for, library privileges are reinstated.
  • ILL privileges may be suspended if materials are repeatedly overdue.

Interlibrary Loan works because libraries honor each other's policies and due dates. Timely return of ILL materials assures that we will continue to be able to borrow from other libraries. Keeping an ILL book beyond the due date jeopardizes our ability to borrow from that lender in the future, and may make important materials unavailable to other interlibrary borrowers.

How can I read my Electronic Document Delivery article?

Your Electronic Document will be sent to your email address, usually as an attachment.
If necessary the Library can print an electronically delivered article for you. There is a charge for this service. Electronic articles expire twenty-one days after receipt, after which they can no longer be retrieved.

IMPORTANT: By using HPL Document Delivery, you are agreeing to uphold the copyright restrictions applicable to all library materials. You are permitted to print one copy of the article for your own use.*

*All material is supplied in accordance with United States copyright law (Title 17, US Code). It is intended only for personal research or instructional use. Documents may not be stored or retransmitted in machine-readable form and should only be printed once. Further reproduction or copying in any form requires the prior express written consent of the copyright owner and payment of royalties. Infringement of copyright law may subject the violator to civil fine and/or criminal prosecution, or both. The Homer Public Library reserves the right to refuse to accept a copying order if, in its judgment, fulfillment of the order would involve violation of copyright law.