New Mexico State Library

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Interlibrary Loan Newsletter #4

Your New ILLiand Librarian 

Hello, my name is Amy DiBello, and I joined the Public Services Bureau on October 28, 2023. I graduated from San Jose State University with an MLIS degree in 2020. My last job was eighteen years with the Albuquerque and Bernalillo County Library System, and my favorite activity was processing interlibrary loans at the branch level. From taking requests, to filling out paperwork, communicating with the downtown Main Library, unpacking, and returning materials, I enjoyed seeing what patrons were reading and researching.  I’m getting a real post-graduate education in learning about how rural, tribal, and correctional libraries serve their patrons and the role our bookmobiles play in getting materials to parts of New Mexico that I look forward to visiting in the future.


Email is my most important lifeline when seeing where your branch is in the interlibrary loan process, especially when it comes to returns.  My first request as your ILL air traffic controller is to please send me return emails as soon as you return materials to the lending libraries who work with New Mexico. The body of your emails provide me with all the information I need in this format:




Date returned:

Almost all of you are already doing this, and I humbly thank you for helping me to return these transactions in the ILLiad database. One of my most pressing goals is to process returns quickly and accurately for your libraries, so that our state is recognized as a good borrower in the national system of lending libraries.

Getting the Most Accurate ILL Information from WorldCat: OCLC Numbers  

Whenever I got interlibrary loan requests from patrons, the first thing I would do before sending a request downtown was to go to and look for a few elements. Did I get the title and author right? Is this something we can get in the United States? Is this available in the format our patron needs? Do the lending libraries charge a fee for this title?

In addition to a title, author, or ISBN number, a helpful element to add to your request is an OCLC (Online Computer Library Center) number. An OCLC number “is a unique number associated with a record in WorldCat, the world’s largest network of library holdings. It is an identification number assigned to an item in a library’s collection”.  (What Is an OCLC Number? – FAQs, n.d.) Including an OCLC number will help us to get your patron exactly what they want.

Revisiting Our LibGuide 

The New Mexico State Library has a LibGuide to answer some questions you may have about interlibrary loans. The LibGuide covers who is eligible to partake of ILL services, how to submit requests, returns, renewals, recalls, and the process of dealing with overdue and lost items. Part of my own, ongoing training is consulting the Interlibrary Loan Code for the United States, which further answers questions about the reciprocal nature of borrowing and lending among libraries.

Two questions I’m asked on a regular basis are, “How many interlibrary loans can we have?” and “What happens if we lose an interlibrary loan, or if it never arrives?” The answer to the first question is: Libraries are allowed 25 active requests at a time. An active request is any request from the moment it is submitted to when the item is returned. If you reach the limit, you will be allowed to request more items when returned items are marked as checked in on ILLiad by NMSL.  (See the “returning” section for further details.)

The answer to the second question is: According to the ILL policies set up by the American Library Association, the borrowing library is responsible for a borrowed item from the moment it leaves the lending institution until it arrives back. That means that even if the item becomes lost in the mail on its way to you, or after you mail it back to the lender, you are responsible for the replacement cost and processing fee for the book.

We assume a great deal of responsibility and a fair amount of risk to our reputations and budgets when it comes to providing interlibrary loan services to our patrons. I pledge that I will do my best to be helpful and available to all of you, not only through email, but by phone. Please don’t hesitate to call me at (505)476-9716 if you have questions.

Works Cited

“ILL Code with Explanatory Text.” Interlibrary Loan Code for the United States with Explanatory Texts, Interlibrary Loan Committee, Reference and User Services Association (RUSA), 1994, revised 2001.  Revised by the Codes, Guidelines, and Technical Standards Committee, Sharing and Transforming Access to Resources Section (STARS) 2008, 2015, 2023. Approved by RUSA Board June 13, 2023., Accessed 15 Feb. 2024.

“Interlibrary Loan Code for the United States.” Reference & User Services Association (RUSA), Accessed 14 Feb. 2024.

“Libguides: Interlibrary Loan Policies & Procedures: Introduction.” Edited by Amy DiBello, Introduction – Interlibrary Loan Policies & Procedures – LibGuides at New Mexico State Library, The New Mexico State Library, 2024,

What Is an OCLC Number? – Faqs, New York University, Accessed 15 Feb. 2024.


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