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  • Interlibrary Loan - FAQs

    What is Interlibrary Loan (ILL)?

    Interlibrary Loan (ILL) is a courtesy arrangement through which one library system lends its materials to another library system.  Interlibrary loan practices are based on the National Interlibrary Loan Code of the American Library Association, the Virtual Library of Virginia (VIVA) Interlibrary Loan Guidelines,  the Copyright Laws of the United States and the policies of the member libraries of the Virginia Tidewater Consortium for Higher Education.

    Who can borrow through ILL?

    The purpose of interlibrary loan is to provide materials that are not available in the VPCC library, in any format, to currently enrolled VPCC students, faculty, and staff to support research needs.  Community patrons are referred to their local public library.  Patrons wishing to borrow through the interlibrary loan service must have a valid VPCC library card, and their account must be in good standing.  It is a privilege, not a right, to borrow materials from other libraries through interlibrary loan.

    How do I request an item though ILL?

    To request an item through this service, a patron must complete the online ILL request form.  In person assistance with this form is available at the service desks at the libraries on both campuses.   A valid email address is required to facilitate electronic document delivery.

    Is there a cost for ILL service?

    VPCC Library does not charge for interlibrary loan service. The Library will attempt to obtain the item at no cost, usually within the state of Virginia. However, if a lending library charges a book loan fee (sometimes as much as $50) or a photocopy fee (up to $50 or per page), the VPCC library will pass that charge on to the patron.  Patrons are required to pay the fees at the time the material is picked up.  Payment must be by personal check made out to the lending library.

    The VPCC ILL request form provides an opportunity for patrons to indicate the maximum amount the patron is willing to pay.  It is acceptable to place a zero on the form indicating that the patron is not willing to pay anything.  However, if the item is not available free, no attempt will be made to obtain it through a fee-charging institution.

    How many items may I request through ILL?

    There is no limit to the number of requests a patron may submit; however, the interlibrary loan librarian will establish priorities in instances where a large number of requests from one patron might adversely affect the service offered to others.

    Copyright law forbids any library from requesting, in any one year, more than five articles from the same journal published within the last five years.

    What kinds of items are not available through ILL?

    Some types of items are difficult or impossible to obtain through interlibrary loan.  These include: reference books, textbooks, rare books, very recently published books, bestsellers, international books, entire issues of periodicals and audio-visual material.  Dissertations are rarely available for loan, but the VPCC library subscribes to ProQuest Dissertations and Theses Database where most dissertations can be accessed.

    Requests for textbooks that are currently being used in VPCC classes or in classes at other VCCS institutions are not accepted.

    Items that are available in the VPCC collection will not be requested in additional formats.  For example, a print book will not be requested if the electronic version is available in the VPCC collection.  Exceptions to this may be made for students with disabilities.

    How long does it take for my item to arrive?

    Patrons should allow sufficient lead time for interlibrary loan request processing and delivery.  Requests are submitted electronically by the VPCC interlibrary loan librarian to the lending library usually within one business day of receipt.

    Based on the availability of the item in other libraries, the length of time involved in obtaining a loan or photocopy can vary considerably.  About half of all articles are received in 2 days or less; about half of all books arrive in 5 days or less.  Delivery may take as long as 3 weeks, however, or the item may not be available at all.

    Where do I pick up my item and how long will it be held for me?

    Materials in electronic format will be emailed to the VPCC patron at the email address provided on the interlibrary loan form.  Other materials will be placed on the hold shelf at the circulation desk at either the Hampton or Historic Triangle campus, depending on where the request originated.  Patrons will be notified by email or phone that the material has been received.   If returnable items, such as books, are not picked up by the patron within two weeks, they will be returned to the lending library.  A second request for the same item will not be accepted.  Photocopies will be held at the circulation desk for two weeks and then discarded.

    How long can I keep my item?

    The lending library determines the loan period and renewal policy for its materials.  Patrons can expect to keep most materials for two to four weeks.  Virginia libraries often grant extended loan periods of six to eight weeks but do not allow renewals.  Occasionally lending libraries loan an item under the condition that it will not leave the VPCC library.  These items are often rare or fragile and must be used in the library for their protection.

    Can I renew my item?

    Renewals of interlibrary loan materials should be requested only in exceptional cases.  If a renewal is needed, the interlibrary loan librarian should be contacted at least four business days before the due date.  The interlibrary loan department must receive permission from the lending library before granting a renewal.

    Where do I return my item?

    Patrons are responsible for returning the item to the VPCC Hampton or Historic Triangle library circulation desk by the due date.

    What happens if my item becomes overdue or if I've damaged or lost the item?

    Please see our circulation policies page for information about overdue and lost items. Please notify us as soon as possible if you have lost or damaged your ILL items. 

    Because a patron’s failure to comply with the conditions of a loan can jeopardize the borrowing privileges of VPCC Library extended by other libraries, and thereby affect the services provided to other patrons, the VPCC Library takes misuse of the interlibrary loan service very seriously. Future ILL borrowing privileges may be suspended if patrons do not fulfill their ILL obligations.

    Still have questions?

    If you have questions not answered in this document, please contact Kady Fortier (757-825-2871).