Interlibrary Loan Service (ILL)

The purpose of ILL is to obtain, upon request of a library user, material not available in the user's local library. The Interlibrary Loan Code of the United States with Explanatory Text establishes guidelines that facilitate the requesting of materials by a library and the provision of loans or copies in response to those requests.

In Maine, there are two types of ILL for libraries

Area Reference and Resource Center (ARRC) Borrowing: The ARRCs were established in 1973. At that time, there were no online catalogs or shared ILS systems, so the faciliation of resource sharing in their regions was a critical ARRC function. The Maine State Library contracts with the ARRC libraries to provided ILL services for libraries that are not members of one of Maine's consortia (see below). ARRCs also offer free library cards for patrons in their district/region as well backup reference services for librarians. To request ILL services through your ARRC, locate your county below and click on the appropriate link:

  1. Portland Public Library serves Cumberland and York counties and the Oxford County towns of Brownfield, Denmark, Fryeburg, Hiram, and Lovell
  2. Maine State Library, in partnership with Lewiston Public Library, serves Androscoggin, Franklin, Kennebec, Lincoln, Oxford, Sagadahoc, Somerset counties
  3. Bangor Public Library serves Aroostook, Hancock, Knox, Penobscot, Piscataquis, Waldo, and Washington counties

Consortial Borrowing: A library consortium is a group of libraries who partner to coordinate activities, share resources and combine expertise. ILL is the most common form of cooperation. However, consortia can grow beyond a simple interlibrary loan agreement. Many consortia have developed Integrated Library Systems (ILS). In Maine, there are four ILS-based consortia: Minerva, URSUS, MILS and Balsam which all feed into MaineCat. Borrowing and lending policies are set by the members of each consortium. Because these libraries share a catalog, patrons can directly request materials in the catalog and any library in the consortium can fill that request.

The Statewide Van Delivery Service (searchable participant list) is a voluntary service where participating libraries use a courier to deliver library books and materials to facilitate interlibrary lending and borrowing throughout the State of Maine.

Libraries participating in trial shared borrowing privileges

Who Loans What is a list of libraries in Maine accepting Interlibrary loan requests via email and any particular regulations they have for submission. This list is provided as a service to librarians and should only be used between participating libraries. Join or edit "Who Loans What".

MEFIND-L was created in response to requests from libraries wishing a medium for broadcast ILL requesting. It is used principally by libraries not linked to Maine InfoNet for statewide interlibrary loan requesting. MEFIND should also be used for libraries requesting multiple copies of a title for use in book discussion groups. Regular ILL channels should not be used for book group borrowing.