Interlibrary loan versus reference questions

As you know, there are times when a request could be treated as either a subject or an author-title request. When in doubt, you can check with your headquarters library or system reference center. As a general rule, use the subject request form whenever you are unsure -- this form was designed to give you room to explain unusual circumstances.

Here is a list of types of questions that can be more easily handled as a subject request:

Use INTERLIBRARY LOAN when a patron needs a particular title or article.

Send a REFERENCE QUESTION when the patron has a need for information but the information does not have to come from any particular source.

For example, if your patron needs to know how to make sauerkraut, send that as a reference question rather than borrowing books on pickling. Why? If the particular title you requested on ILL is not available, you will get a negative reply even though the information might have been available in another book on the shelf.

If your patron wants to read a particular mystery by Agatha Christie, you can interlibrary loan that specific title and know that you will fill the need.

Go to Verifying interlibrary loan requests.

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This page was updated October 26,2003.