Thursday, February 23, 2012

Requesting books through interlibrary loan

How do you get a book that's not in our collection? You've already done a search in our new HillCat interface, Polaris, and we don't have what you need. What then?

You can search beyond our collection right from our catalog, and you can request an interlibrary loan with just a couple of clicks. Here's how.

Underneath your search options, click on "Select Databases":

Our catalog will be checked by default. Check the box next to OCLC WorldCat and click the "Set Selected Databases"button.

Enter your search terms again and make sure that you are searching in 2 selected databases. If you are searching for a specific format or edition, click on the "Advanced" button in the search options line, which will allow you to combine specific search requirements (e.g., both the title and the author and the date of publication).

When you re-run your search, you will see the number of items from our collection, along with a separate line for the number of records available from other libraries. Click on the number in the OCLC WorldCat line.

Now you can browse through the different materials that match your search. The display options will be similar to what you see for items that we have at Reeves; cover images, item type, summaries, and more may be available for different items.

When you find a book that you want to borrow, click on the "Place Request" button.

This will take you to a log in screen. If this is your first time accessing your library catalog account, you will need to activate your account by following the directions here. Otherwise, use the username and password that you have selected.

Once you are logged in, click the "Submit Request" button.

You will see a reminder that you are requesting an item from outside our library. Click "Continue."

You will then be taken to a confirmation screen that informs you that "your request has been placed." You will receive an email from the library when the book arrives and is ready for you to pick up. This typically takes 1-2 weeks for books.

If you are asking for something that may be rare (such as an older item, a limited edition, or something in a foreign language), you may want to check the web interface of WorldCat first ( to make sure that several libraries own the item you need. If a book is only held by two or three libraries in the world, the odds of our being able to borrow a copy will be low and you may need to find a source that is more widely-held.

For our full interlibrary loan policies, click here. Happy searching!

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