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Interlibrary Loan FAQ

Interlibrary Loan (ILL) is the process in which a library supplies and borrows materials from other libraries.

The Worcester Public Library (WPL) borrows materials from other libraries through the Commonwealth Catalog (Comcat) and WorldShareILL (OCLC).


What can I borrow?

Before borrowing an item via ComCat or OCLC, please work with a librarian to ensure that an item is not available in the WPL collection or in the Central and Western Automated Resource Sharing (CW MARS) network.

Commonwealth Catalog:

  • Books and audiovisual materials are generally available through ComCat, though recently published items are difficult to borrow. Each participating library determines what parts of its collection are available for loan.
  • Materials not eligible for borrowing are articles, magazines, newspapers, microfilm, e-content, and devices, among others.

WorldShareILL:

  • Most materials with the exception of e-content or devices are available through WorldShare ILL, but it is difficult to borrow the following:

o   Reference books

o   Recently published items

o   Entire issues of magazines or newspapers

o   Audiovisual items

o   Video games

o   Textbooks

o   Microfilm

·         You can place requests for articles.


How do I make an ILL request?

Prior to submitting an ILL request, your library account must not have bills for lost materials. If you cannot place an ILL request due to a blocked account, please contact the Worcester Public Library for assistance.

Commonwealth Catalog:

  • You can search for available materials and place a request in the Commonwealth Catalog by creating an account at www.commonwealthcatalog.org.
  • If you do not know how to create a ComCat account, please work with a librarian.
  • For more information about the Commonwealth Catalog, please visit the Patron FAQ page on the ComCat website.

WorldShareILL:

  • Requests can be made in person at any service desk, by phone, or online through the Ask a Librarian page on WPL’s website.

How do I check the status of my ILL requests?

Commonwealth Catalog:

  • You can look at the status of your requests by logging into your account on the ComCat website.
  • You can review the meaning of different statuses by clicking on the Patron FAQ hyperlink on the ComCat website at www.commonwealthcatalog.org.

WorldShareILL:

  • You can contact the Head of Interlibrary Loan at the WPL to check the status of your request:

o   By phone: 508-799-1697

o   By email: gmorin@mywpl.org


Why didn’t I receive the ILL item I requested?

Commonwealth Catalog & WorldShareILL:

  • There can be multiple reasons why you didn’t receive an item you requested via ILL. It is possible that an item is unavailable because it is already in use by another patron or that it is not lent via Interlibrary Loan.
  • You can work with a librarian to retry your request at another time.

How many ILL requests may I have at one time?

Commonwealth Catalog:

  • You may have 10 active requests at one time.

WorldShareILL:

  • You may have 4 active requests at one time.

Does it cost me anything to borrow materials through ILL?

Commonwealth Catalog:

  • All items lent through the Commonwealth Catalog are free of charge.

WorldShareILL:

  • The majority of items are free of charge.
  • Some ILL items may involve a service fee charged by the lending library. Library staff will not process a request unless you approve the fee.

Can I renew an Interlibrary Loan item?

Commonwealth Catalog:

  • These items cannot be renewed.

WorldShareILL:

  • A renewal is not guaranteed.
  • If you would like to request a renewal, please do so by email or phone three days before the item is due:

o   By phone: 508-799-1697

o   By email: ill@mywpl.org


How long will it take my ILL item to arrive?

Commonwealth Catalog:

  • It varies on the library’s location in Massachusetts but it should only take a few days or weeks.

WorldShareILL:

  • It varies on how quickly the library responds to a request and its location, which can be anywhere in the US or the world. An item can arrive within a few days or a few weeks.

How will I be notified when my ILL item arrives?

Please ensure that your contact information is up to date on your library account.

Commonwealth Catalog:

  • You can be notified by phone or email.

WorldShareILL:

  • You can be notified by phone or email.
  • Please tell the librarian your preferred mode of notification.
  • When the item arrives, it will be checked out on your library account as a WORP-ILL.

Where can I pick up an ILL item?

Commonwealth Catalog:

  • From the ComCat website, you can select the Main Library, Frances Perkins Branch, Great Brook Valley Branch, or another library in the CW MARS network as a pick-up location.
  • If you would like to pick them up at a different WPL branch location other than the three locations listed, please tell the librarian at your local branch: in person, via phone, or email.

WorldShareILL:

  • These items can only be picked up at WPL locations. If you want your ILL item quickly, the easiest pick-up locations are the Main Library and the Frances Perkins Branch.
  • The loan periods can be limited and these items are most readily available at the Main Library and Frances Perkins Branch. It is possible to pick up these items at another WPL branch location but delivery will take longer, please contact the Head of Interlibrary Loan to arrange pick-up.

What are my responsibilities with an ILL item?

Commonwealth Catalog:

  • You cannot remove the paperwork on the front of an item.
  • You must return the item to the WPL location where you initially placed the request.
  • You are responsible for damage or missing pieces and may be charged a fee.
  • An item becomes lost one month after the due date. Since ComCat items are not owned by any library within the CW MARS network, payment for a lost item is handled differently. As such, you are charged a default lost item fee. This amount does not necessarily reflect the actual cost of the item.  If you have lost the item, please contact the Head of Interlibrary Loan (508-799-1697/ill@mywpl.org) so that the owning library can be contacted to determine the true cost of the item. Once the cost of the item has been determined, the default lost item fee will be changed to reflect the actual cost.  In some instances, you may be able to purchase a replacement copy but that is at the discretion of the owning library and the Head of ILL will alert you if this is an option. Your library account will be blocked from borrowing until the lost item fee is paid or the item is returned.

WorldShareILL:

  •  You cannot remove the paperwork on the front of an item.
  • You must return the item to the WPL location where you initially placed the request.
  • You are responsible for damage or missing pieces and may be charged a fee.
  • An item becomes lost one month after the due date. Since WorldShareILL items are not owned by any library within the CW MARS network, payment for a lost item is handled differently. As such, you are charged a default lost item fee. This amount does not necessarily reflect the actual cost of the item. If you have lost the item, please contact the Head of Interlibrary Loan (508-799-1697/ill@mywpl.org) so that the owning library can be contacted to determine the true cost of the item. Once the cost of the item has been determined, the default lost item fee will be changed to reflect the actual cost. In some instances, you may be able to purchase a replacement copy but that is at the discretion of the owning library and the Head of ILL will alert you if this is an option. Your library account will be blocked from borrowing until the lost item fee is paid or the item is returned.

·         Repeated loss of items may result in the cessation of ILL privileges.


How long may I keep an ILL item?

Commonwealth Catalog:

  • The loan period for a ComCat item is 28 days.

WorldShareILL:

  • The loan period is set by the owning library and varies according to their policies.
  • Some libraries will cut the lending period and that item must be returned immediately. This situation occurs because there is an immediate need for the item at the borrowing library such as a hold for a particular class. You will be notified that the due date has changed and when the item must be returned.

Where do I return my ILL items?

Commonwealth Catalog & WorldShareILL:

You must return the item to the location where you originally placed the request.


Does the Worcester Public Library’s fine free policy apply to ILL items?

Commonwealth Catalog:

  • Yes, the WPL’s fine free policy applies to these items.

WorldShareILL:

  • Yes, the WPL’s fine free policy applies to these items.

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