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Services: Interlibrary Loans


Interlibrary Loans

Interlibrary Loan is the process by which Spokane Public Library requests materials from, or supplies materials to, libraries outside of our library system.  The Library provides interlibrary loan service in order to enhance and extend the resources available to its users. Because the Library cannot purchase or subscribe to every useful resource, Interlibrary Loan is an essential part of its mission to meet the informational needs of the community.


Who Can Borrow?
What Can I Borrow?
What Am I Unable to Request?
How Many Items Can I Request?

Request Your Item

How Long Will It Take?

Are There Charges to Borrow?

Do I Have to Pick Up the Item Downtown?

How Do I Find Out When the Item Arrives?

How Long Can I Keep an Interlibrary Loan?

Will I Find Out If You Cannot Locate an Item?

What Does Our Library Lend to Other Libraries?


Who Can Borrow?

Library card holders who reside within the city limits of Spokane and people who own businesses within the city of Spokane, if they have a business library card. In order to process a request ALL of the following must apply:

  • Card must be verified (proof of address and identity must be shown).
  • Fines must be under $10.00.
  • Card must be current (no expired cards, please).

Non-resident cardholders should contact their home library system for Interlibrary Loan Service.

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What Can I Borrow?

  • Books (including Audiobooks on cassette or CD, but NOT downloadable) published prior to the last 6 months.
  • Photocopies of journal/magazine articles or genealogical information.
  • Microfilm or fiche of newspapers.
  • Theses or dissertations.

The owning library will make the decision as to whether or not they will lend the material.  You can find book information and check owning library locations by searching WorldCat. Customers may only request the same title twice per calendar year.

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 What Am I Unable to Request?

  • Videos, DVDs, music cassettes and CDs, downloadable Audiobooks, downloadable eBooks and CD-Roms, genealogy books (though we can request photocopies from genealogy items).
  • Books already owned by Spokane Public Library (including items located within our Reference, Northwest Room, and Genealogy collections).

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How Many Items Can I Request?

  • Only four items can be in process at a time. This includes items that could only be used in the library and microfilm.  For each item that has been returned another item can be requested.
  • Microfilm requests must be for a reasonable date range in order to be processed.
  • Requests must be submitted on Spokane Public Library forms. No photocopies of the form will be accepted.

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Request Your Item

Material Request Form - use this form to request books, books on CD, Genealogy research, magazine or journal articles, or newspaper microfilm. Be sure to check the box for ILL Request.

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How Long Will It Take?

Interlibrary Loan items are borrowed from across the United States and Canada. It can take 4-6 weeks to receive an item.

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Are There Charges to Borrow?

  • Spokane Public Library requests items from free lenders first whether they are in Washington State or not.
  • If we do end up having to pay a borrowing charge we will only pay up to $20.00. If a library charges more than $20.00 we will not borrow the item from that library. There is no method or policy in place that allows customers to pay an amount over the $20.00 in order to get an item.
  • If Spokane Public Library does pay a borrowing charge we absorb the cost, we do not pass it on to the customer.
  • We do not charge for photocopies we receive through Interlibrary Loan.
  • Customers will also be responsible for paying for any requests that require pre-payment.

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Do I Have to Pick Up the Item Downtown?

You can request and pick-up items at your nearest Spokane Public library branch.

  • Books are routed to the branch specified on the Interlibrary Loan request form. 
  • Photocopy requests are mailed to the address on the library card record placed on the interlibrary loan form.
  • Microfilm or fiche can be viewed in the library only on the viewing machines located at the Downtown branch.
  • "In library use only" books can be viewed at the specified branch.

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How Do I Find Out When the Item Arrives?

  • When the item arrives a hold will be placed on the item and a hold notice (mail, e-mail or telephone) will be generated as soon as the item reaches the branch specified as the pick-up location.
  • Since only 20 items can be "On Hold" at any given time, please reserve space on your hold list for interlibrary loan items.
  • Interlibrary loan materials will be held behind the circulation desk, not on the regular hold shelf.
  • You will have five days to pick up your items before they will be sent back to the lending library.

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How Long Can I Keep an Interlibrary Loan? 

Interlibrary loan materials will check out for a maximum of three weeks from the day you pick up the book. Because Spokane Public Library does not own items borrowed using the Interlibrary Loan system, renewals are not allowed.

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Will I Find Out If You Cannot Locate an Item?

The Interlibrary Loan department will let you know by placing a block on the library card used to request the item if we are unable to borrow the item you requested.

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What Does Our Library Lend to Other Libraries?

  • Books that are no longer considered new.
  • Some reference books (with permission of Branch Manager) to be used in library only.
  • Spokane Public Library does not lend Genealogy items, Northwest Room items, audiovisual items, or microfilm. 

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