Interlibrary loan is just one of several options researchers have for obtaining sources from distant archives and libraries.
Getting Results with Interlibrary Loan (ILL)
Interlibrary Loan (ILL) can be an important genealogical resource. Most public and academic libraries offer interlibrary loan service to obtain books, microfilms, or other materials from distant libraries for free, or for a small charge. However, some libraries are reluctant to loan genealogical material through interlibrary loan.
What you will need. To use Interlibrary Loan you will need to know:
- author (if any) of the work
- title of the work
- name of the library with a copy of the work
Finding what you need. This information can usually be found using the online catalog of the library that has the work. The largest is the Worldcat Online Catalog, but other catalogs can also be found by using the Google search engine to find each individual library.
Telephone several public or academic libraries near your home to see which has the least expensive interlibrary loan service, and ask them for instructions about ordering. This usually involves filling out a form (either online or paper) and paying a fee (if any).
Most interlibrary loan orders are filled withing two weeks.
Family History Library
You can order and view most microfilms and microfiche from the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah at a branch FamilySearch Center near your home for a small shipping fee. To obtain microfilm or microfiche numbers to order see the Family History Library Catalog. For addresses, telephones, and hours of FamilySearch Centers near your home see Find a FamilySearch Center.
However, the Family History Library does not participate in the Interlibrary Loan program. Books at the Family History Library do not circulate.
If you would like to view a work listed in the Family History Library Catalog (or elsewhere) that is not also available on microfilm or microfiche, and is not available via the FamilySearch Center system, here are a few options:
- Check WorldCat, an online catalog of thousands of libraries, to find a library near you which has the item available.
- Contact your local public or academic library and ask them to request an interlibrary loan copy from another library to your local library.
- Request photocopies of 25 or less pages of works that are not available through interlibrary loan.
- Hire a researcher in the area of the archive or library to search it for you.
- Contact the archive or library with the original copy to learn what options they have to give you access to the item, such as purchasing a microfilm copy.
Read additional suggestions in the Buying, Borrowing, or Searching a Book Wiki page.