New Mexico State Library

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Interlibrary Loan Newsletter #5

Why So Many Emails?!: Returns, Emails, and ILL Cancellations 

Hello Interlibrary Loan Colleagues,

You may be wondering why you’re getting so many emails, and yet, I also email you asking if an interlibrary loan has been returned, even though you returned it a long time ago. The answer is that our ILLiad database is sending you automated emails about renewals, recalls, items being due soon, followed by overdue notifications: first, second, third, and then a bone-chilling notice that your library is being billed, even though you did return your interlibrary loan.

Fear not. The best way to nip this in the bud, is to email me directly at with the details of what you’re returning to the lending library on the day you return it to the lending library, include the transaction or ILL number, title, and date you returned the materials.

The new website you use to make requests doesn’t know that you personally took that interlibrary loan to the local post office and sent it back to the lender. That’s where I come in, with the human touch. When you compose and send an “ILL returned” email message to me, I receive the details which I enter into the ILLiad  database, hit the process button, and receive confirmation that your request has been marked “returned and finished”.

Going forward, I promise I will respond to all return notifications from you with my name to confirm that I processed your return. Those automated emails lack my name and if you continue to receive them, especially the overdue notices, then you know your item has not been returned in the system and you should contact me immediately, long before we get the billing stage of the process.   I know that all the public, school, tribal, and correctional libraries are fitting interlibrary loan processing into busy days jam-packed with hours on the reference and circulation desks, developing and hosting programs, and serving your patrons. The last thing you need is to retrace your steps with information about an interlibrary loan that you already have returned weeks ago.

Cancelling an Interlibrary Loan

Sometimes, a patron would like to cancel an interlibrary loan request, which is understandable. If I am unable to cancel a request, it’s usually because the Illiad system is incredibly fast at processing ILL requests. The best thing we can do at that point is to just return the materials when they come to your library.  ILLiad is faster than Amazon. I can understand wanting to cancel an ILL that is taking a long time to arrive. However, once a loan is in motion, it is impossible to cancel a request after a lending library ships a book.

Please feel free to email me at or give me a call at (505)476-9716 any time. I love to hear from you and will do my best to be helpful. Thank you for all you do for your patrons!

-Amy DiBello

ILLiad and Reference Librarian

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