Interlibrary Loan Policy

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A. NPL Patrons Interlibrary Loan Policy

Purpose of Interlibrary Loan

To obtain for Norfolk Public Library patrons materials not owned by the NPL system.

Eligibility and Limits on Interlibrary Loan Borrowing

Because Interlibrary Loan involves items owned by institutions other than NPL, and because of the labor the service requires, certain restrictions and limits apply to Interlibrary Loan borrowing.

Interlibrary Loan service is available to NPL cardholders as long as they are in good standing with the Library (have no pending fines $10 or more), no delinquent items, and no more than five claims-returned items, and have a permanent, verifiable address and phone.

Any patron may have only five active requests at any one time. Active requests include both items currently on loan and items currently being searched for.

Patrons who repeatedly ignore Interlibrary Loan rules like removing the blue band from the cover of ILL books, returning ILL items in book drops, or returning ILL items damaged, will not be eligible for ILL borrowing.

Materials Offered

Books, fiche, film, dissertations, theses, photocopies, and musical scores not currently owned by NPL are available through Interlibrary Loan. This includes items with no record in the NPL catalog or for which records show no holdings, missing, claimed returned, or withdrawn.

Materials Not Offered

Some items cannot be offered due to limited staffing and/or limited availability:

  • Any item currently owned by the NPL system, including items checked out, reference items, items held in the local history collection (Sargeant Memorial Collection), and items on order for the system
  • Material marked as "New"
  • Audiovisual materials, including videotapes, audiotapes, DVDs, CDs, and films


While NPL staff will attempt to obtain items without charge, fees, which are determined by institutions that have a requested item and are willing to lend it out, cannot be predicted. Most items can be obtained without charge. Some items, including photocopies, genealogical materials, and information obtained from medical libraries, routinely incur charges. Patrons must indicate a maximum amount they will be willing to pay for an item. If no amount is named, a zero amount will be assumed.

Once charges have been incurred on a patron's behalf, the patron is responsible for charges up to the amount he or she has agreed to even if the item is not picked up.

Overdue Fines and Replacement Costs

Fines for overdue Interlibrary Loan items are $1.25 per day per item. The maximum overdue fine is $10.00. Replacement costs for damaged or lost items are determined by the lending institution and may amount to many times the actual value of the item. 

Loan Periods, Renewal of Items, and Restrictions on Use

Loan periods and renewal options are determined by the lending institution. Moreover, a lender may recall an item at any time. Some libraries do not allow renewals or require that items be used on within the library. The loan period, lending restrictions, and other pertinent information are indicated on the blue band attached to the Interlibrary Loan item.

Renewals, which are solely at the discretion of the lending institution (not NPL), cannot be guaranteed. Requests for renewal must be made prior to five days before an item's due date.

Notification of Patrons

Information regarding the arrival of items, approval or disapproval of renewal requests, overdues and recalls, unfilled requests, and any other pertinent matters will be communicated to the patron by phone, email, or surface mail. Because they are more timely, phone and email are preferred.

B. Interlibrary Loan Policy for Other Institutions

Materials Offered

Circulating books, apart from those published in the current year, are available for interlibrary loan to other institutions. Copies of any material in the collection will be provided without charge as long as the request is within reason.

Materials Not Offered

Audio/Video, films, fiche, reference items, genealogy material from the Sargeant Memorial Room, and titles marked as "New" are not available for loan to other institutions.

Loan Periods, Renewal of Items

Items are loaned to other institutions for a period of 28 days. Items will generally be renewed once with the exception of items currently on hold by other NPL patrons.


No late or shipping charges will be imposed. Charges will be imposed for lost or damaged items.