Interlibrary Loan

NOTE: ILL service will reopen on Monday, November 2 with a limit of one request per patron. Due to the COVID-19 outbreak, items may take longer to arrive and may be less available overall.

Every library has to make decisions regarding what books to carry in their collection. If we don't have the materials you need, or if the item you're looking for in our collection is marked 'missing,' 'lost,' 'claims returned,' or 'long overdue,' we will be happy to set up an interlibrary loan for you.

Is it free?

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. If there is an additional fee, you will be contacted before the material comes in.)

What materials can I get through interlibrary loan?

Most books that circulate, microfilm, and photocopies. Most libraries will not loan any recently acquired books (usually anything a library has had fewer than six months), special collections material, videos, reference material, or textbooks.

How do I make a request?

You can place your request at the form below. Patrons are limited to five requests at a time.

How long will it take for my item to come in?

Generally it takes 2-4 weeks, but items can take up to several months to arrive, especially within the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. Some factors that determine how long your item will take to arrive:

  1. 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.
  2. How rare the book is. Some libraries may not lend out books that are considered rare or fragile, and may decline to make copies.
  3. The postal service. All requests must go through the postal service, and mail is sometimes lost or misdirected.

How long may I keep the loaned item?

The owning library determines the due date on your item. We also need to allow for mailing time to return the item to them before their deadline. Please disregard any dates listed in the book. Your due date is on the bookstrap attached to your item.

NOTE: If you select the Downtown Library to pick up your interlibrary loan requests, they may be picked up at the Information Desk on the second floor of the Downtown Library.

Have questions? Call (256) 532-5975 during the library's business hours, or email illdept@hmcpl.org anytime. We'll be happy to help.