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Interlibrary Loan Frequently Asked Questions


What is interlibrary loan?

The Bemidji State University Library provides an interlibrary loan service for obtaining materials from other libraries for use by BSU students, faculty, and staff. The interlibrary loan staff are committed to the efficient processing of your requests in order to obtain the items you need within a useful time frame.
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Who may use BSU's interlibrary loan service?

All currently affiliated BSU students, faculty, and staff are eligible to use the service provided you have a valid BSU user identification card which has an active user barcode number. Local patrons or special borrowers are not eligible to use interlibrary loan services through the BSU library, but should contact their home institution or local public library for interlibrary loan service.

Delivery Service is available for distance learners, identified as any registered BSU student or BSU faculty member who either lives beyond 30 miles from campus, or needs delivery because of permanent or tempoary disability. Distance learners are allowed to request BSU-owned as well as non-BSU owned materials, and receive home delivery. Distance learners, for their part, take responsibility for the safe return of items back to the A. C. Clark Library. To apply for this service, see Delivery Service for Distance Learners

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How much will I have to pay?

There is no charge for undergraduate and graduate students. For all others, there may be a charge for the very limited number of requests which must be referred beyond the MINITEX/MnPALS service. Charges are set by the lending library and may range from $5.00 - $25.00 per request. Since you, as the patron requesting the material, will pay these charges, we always ask your acceptance of charges before we initiate requests outside the MINITEX/MnPALS system. All payments are then made in the Interlibrary Loan Office by personal or cashier's check.

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What types of material can interlibrary loan provide?

Books - You may request books that are not owned by the Bemidji State University Library. Books that are currently checked out, or listed as missing or lost on the BSU Library Catalog may also be requested, as well as items in Special Collections to which access has been denied.

Dissertations and theses - It is usually possible to borrow dissertations and theses from institutions that belong to the MINITEX/MnPALS System; other libraries will sometimes lend dissertations and master's theses. The interlibrary loan staff can provide information on the probability of obtaining an item.

Articles - You may request copies of articles from periodicals not owned by the BSU Library. You may also request copies from periodicals listed on the BSU Library Catalog as missing or at the bindery, and from periodicals with missing pages. Articles are provided in paper or electronic format.

Government documents - These requests are usually filled by lending you the document, or supplying a microfiche copy or photocopy of the item. Before requesting, check for a URL in the record on the BSU Library Catalog; you might be able to access the document electronically, rather than ordering a copy through interlibrary loan.

Audiovisual materials - We have agreements with a number of libraries willing to lend their audiovisual materials. The interlibrary loan staff can provide information on the likelihood of obtaining specific items.  

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What cannot be obtained through interlibrary loan?

Materials in BSU Library collections - We cannot accept requests for any items owned by the BSU Library which are currently available (not checked out by another patron). This includes items on course reserve, or in the Reference Collection. However, materials which are currently checked out to another patron, or which are missing, lost, or at the bindery may be requested, as well as items in Special Collections to which access has been denied.

High-demand materials - New releases, best sellers, and books on which movies or television shows are based cannot be requested. Also, feature films in either video or DVD format, as well as music CDs, released within the past year cannot be requested. A list of Items in Constant Demand is available for consultation to help you determine if an item can be requested.  

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How do I submit an interlibrary loan request?

Options for submitting requests include:

BSU Library Catalog. When searching the combined catalog of all the MnPALS libraries or the University of Minnesota library through the BSU Library Catalog, determine whether the item is available in the BSU library. If not available, click on the "ILL REQUEST" button on the gold bar near the middle of the screen to submit a request for that item. You will be prompted to identify yourself by your barcode (the number on your BSU identification card which begins with 20105) and your password (your last name.) After filling in this information, click on "GO." Once your identity has been verified, your request will display. If your request does not display, click on the "ILL REQUEST" button one more time. To complete your request, fill in your "Not Needed After" date (either by typing in the date or clicking on the calendar, or accepting the default date provided) and check the copyright box if you are requesting copies. If you would like electronic delivery, choose "Copy (Electronic)" from the drop-down box for "Preferred Format." Electronic delivery may be requested for articles, book chapters, government documents, or reports, but not for entire books. Finally, click"GO" to submit your request.

Interlibrary Loan Link in Library's Databases. Interlibrary loan request forms are now linked to a number of the Library's databases. When linking to the interlibrary loan forms, you will first need to identify yourself by your barcode (the number on your BSU identification card which begins with 20105) and your password (your last name.) The citation will then be automatically transferred to an interlibrary form; you will need only to add your "Not needed after" date, and click the copyright compliance box before submitting the form.

Academic Search Premier, Bibliography of Native North Americans, Business Source Premier, CINAHL Plus with Full Text, MasterFILE Premier, and Music Index have an "Interlibrary Loan and/or Request" link. When viewing a citation in these databases, click on "Interlibrary Loan and/or Request" to automatically transfer the citation to the interlibrary loan form. Remember to first use the "Search BSU" and "Search for Full Text Availability" links to see if the BSU Library owns the item or has electronic access to it, before using the interlibrary loan link to request the item.

ERIC, GeoREF, Physical Education Index, PsycINFO, Social Services Abstracts, Sociological Abstracts have an "Interlibrary Loan" link. When viewing a citation in these databases, click on "Interlibrary Loan" to automatically transfer the citation to the interlibrary loan form. Remember to first use the "Check Your Library" link to see if the BSU Library owns the item or has electronic access to it, before using the interlibrary loan link to request the item.

Education Full Text has an "Interlibrary Loan" link. When viewing a citation in this database, click on "Interlibrary Loan" to automatically transfer the citation to the interlibrary loan form. Remember to first use the "Library Owns" and "WilsonLink" links to determine if the BSU Library owns the item or has electronic access to it, before using the interlibrary loan link to request the item.

Blank Electronic Request Forms. Blank interlibrary loan forms are available via the BSU Library Catalog for requesting items found in a source (e. g. bibliography, database, website) other than the BSU Library Catalog, or the databases mentioned above. Before requesting an item, please check both the BSU Library Catalog (to determine if the material is available in the BSU Library) and the list of Electronic Periodicals Available via BSU (to determine if you can access the full text of an article online.) If the item is not found in either of these, then you may request it using the blank interlibrary loan forms. To access the forms, go to the BSU Library Catalog, click on "Your Borrowing Record" on the top blue bar and fill in your User ID/Barcode (the number on your BSU identification card which begins with 20105), your password (your last name), and click "Log On." Once logged in, click on the "Interlibrary Loan" button on the gold bar: note that you initially are given access to the book form (which you may use for books, videos, and any returnable item), and will need to click on "Journal" to access the form for requesting journal articles. To complete the blank interlibrary loan forms, please provide full and accurate citations, noting especially the required fields marked by asterisks; if we are unable to identify the item you need, there will be a delay in receiving your item until we obtain additional information or clarification from you. If you would like electronic delivery of your item (chapters of books, government documents, articles only, not entire books), choose "Copy (Electronic)" from the "Preferred Format" drop-down list near the bottom of the Book form. The blank interlibrary loan form for Journals is already set for "Copy (Electronic)" so you would only change this if you do not want electronic delivery. To view a demonstration of a journal article request, click on this DEMO. (For Flash Player 7 or higher)

MnLINK. When viewing a record on MnLINK, use the "Get It" button to order any materials not owned by Bemidji State University. You will be prompted to log in with your barcode and your password. Once logged in, your request will display. Click on "Request via Interlibrary Loan," then enter your need-by date, and "Submit" your request to complete the process. 

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

When we are able to obtain materials within the regional MINITEX/MnPALS interlibrary loan system, materials usually arrive within 2 to 7 working days, unless it is a busy time or the materials are not widely available. Articles provided electronically are often delivered within 1-2 days. On the rare occasion when we must borrow beyond the MINITEX/MnPALS system, materials may take 2 to 3 weeks to arrive. Actual shipping times may occasionally vary from these averages, so please plan ahead when ordering, and if an item does not arrive when you expect it, please check with the interlibrary loan staff.

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Will I be notified when my materials are in?

E-mail notices are sent when books or loaned materials arrive.

If you have requested electronic delivery of your articles, you will receive an e-mail notice which includes directions for retrieving your article. If you currently have a junk mail filter on your e-mail account, please examine the values currently set to determine whether this incoming mail will be deliverable to you. The article itself will not be delivered via e-mail (it will be delivered to a website to which you will be directed), however the e-mail notification with directions for accessing, as well as your PIN number, will be e-mailed to you. It is important that this mail is deliverable to you, as it is the key to your access.  

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How do I check on the status of my requests?

You can check the status of your requests online anytime by logging in to "Your Borrowing Record" and checking "ILL Active Requests" or "ILL Total Requests." You can also ask at the BSU Library Circulation Desk (or call 218-755-3345) to see if your materials have arrived. 

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Where do I pick up my interlibrary loan materials?

You may pick up your materials at the BSU Library circulation desk during any hours the library is open. Bring your valid BSU user identification card to check out these materials. For BSU faculty, staff, and graduate assistants, photocopies will be mailed directly to your on-campus offices via campus mail. If you have requested electronic delivery for articles, you will be notified by e-mail when your materials are available for pickup, which will include detailed directions for retrieving your article. 

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How long can I keep my interlibrary loan materials?

Any photocopies you receive are yours to keep. For returnable materials (books, videos, etc.), the loan period you are given will vary because it is set by the lending library. Materials are due on or before the dates listed on the blue or lavender bookmark attached to your item. On average, the loan period is 3-4 weeks for books, and 1-2 weeks for non-book materials.

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Can I renew my interlibrary loans if I need them longer?

A maximum of ONE RENEWAL ONLY per item may be possible, if requested BEFORE the item is overdue. In the BSU Library Catalog, log in to "Your Borrowing Record" to request a renewal. Check in the category "ILL Active Requests," choose the item you would like to renew by clicking on the number on the left, then click on the "Renew" button at the bottom of the screen to place a renewal request. Be advised, however, that requesting a renewal does not mean that your item is automatically renewed. The library lending you the item reserves the right to grant or deny renewals, so check back in a few days on the status of your renewal request to see if you have been given a new due date. 

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What if the library is closed when my materials are due?

If the library will be closed, either for semester break or between sessions, when your materials are due, you must either request a renewal for your materials before their due date (see directions above) or return them by the date specified. When the library is closed, you can return your interlibrary loan materials via the outside book return on the south wall of the library near the entrance doors. 

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Will I be charged overdue fines?

When your item is one week overdue, you will be blocked from any future BSU Library transactions until your item is returned. An $80.00 charge for each item will automatically be added to your account when your item reaches fifteen days overdue. This may be refundable when the item is returned. A non-refundable processing fee of $50.00 may be levied for items overdue for 4 or more weeks. All charges are billed against your university account, and payment is made in the Cashiers Office in Deputy Hall. Please return your interlibrary loan materials on time, or request a renewal before the item is due, to avoid unnecessary consequences.  

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Can I cancel a request for an item I no longer need?

If, for any reason, you decide you no longer need the item(s) you requested, please use the "cancel" feature available in the BSU Library Catalog via "Your Borrowing Record." Log in to "Your Borrowing Record", and click on "ILL Active Requests." Select an individual request by clicking on the highlighted number for the request, then look to the bottom of the screen for the "Cancel Request" button. If you have any difficulty in canceling a request, you may contact the interlibrary loan staff for assistance.

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Who can answer my questions about interlibrary loan?

The librarians at the reference desk can provide basic interlibrary loan information, such as average delivery times, and can assist you in placing interlibrary loan requests, and checking the status of your interlibrary loans through the BSU Library Catalog. For detailed information on the status of your requests, contact the interlibrary loan staff. Please ask at the reference desk or the circulation desk, if you would like to speak with interlibrary loan staff in person. 

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