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We have hundreds of thousands of items available at the library, but sometimes we still don’t have quite what you’re looking for. If that’s the case, don’t lose hope! There are other options!

If an item was published in the last six months, it’s easy to submit a purchase suggestion to tell us you think we should buy the item. If the item is older than six months and/or we can’t buy it, the next option is requesting it through interlibrary loan, or ILL. We are a part of a large group of over 600 libraries across the country that all lend materials to each other. If another library in our group has the item that you’re looking for and it’s available, they can ship it to us, you pick it up here, return it here, and then we ship it back to them. That being said, there are some limits to what we can request and what other libraries are willing to send. We can’t get everything (we can’t get that +$100 text book you don’t want to buy for class), but we can get a lot.

Because we borrow from all across the U.S., sometimes it takes a while for things to get here. I’ve seen some requests come the same week the item was requested (we love BYU!), and some have taken just over a month (looking at you, New York). Because of that, it’s important that you request ILL items well in advance if you’re working on a deadline.

Other important things to know about ILL:

Your library card must be active and in good standing to make a request.

Patrons can only have three active ILL requests at a time. The request becomes active once you submit it, and becomes inactive once you’ve either returned the item, or we notify you that we cannot fill the request.

The lending period is set by the lending library, not Provo. Sometimes you may only have a few days with an item, sometimes a few months. Requesting an item through ILL is free…BUT fines for late ILLs are $0.50 per day, and any fines or fees received from the lending library will also be applied to your account.

So, the next time you’re looking for a book that we don’t own, consider requesting it through interlibrary loan!  

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