Interlibrary Loan Guidelines

Wisconsin Guidelines

Any person who is eligible for a library card at any NWLS member library is eligible for Interlibrary Loan services. For more information view the Wisconsin Interlibrary Loan Guidelines

NWLS Resource Sharing Policy

The goal of NWLS resource sharing, in following the guidelines of the State of Wisconsin, is that all NWLS libraries will lend all types of materials to all Wisconsin libraries of any type on an equal basis and will expect equal reciprocity. Libraries must be willing to lend if they wish to borrow. Any materials purchased with LSTA grant funds, NWLS Collection Development funds or other NWLS funds must be available for ILL. NWLS libraries agree to comply with this policy when agreeing to the Annual Member Library Agreement.

Interlibrary Loan Code for the U.S.

The Reference and User Services Association, acting for the American Library Association in its adoption of the Interlibrary Loan Code for the United States recognizes that the sharing of material between libraries is an integral element in the provision of library service and believes it to be in the public interest to encourage such an exchange.

Charging for Interlibrary Loan Services

The Division for Libraries, Technology, & Community Learning has taken the position that public libraries cannot charge customers for interlibrary loan services and also has offered advice and counsel on the appropriateness of various kinds of charges. For information on the statutory provisions, visit

Materials in High Demand

Requesting libraries should screen requests to determine if a title is too popular to request outside of their library system. Using various bestseller lists and the Materials in High Demand can help identify popular titles in all formats. The Resource Sharing: Best Practices for Library Staff section has guidelines for requesting high demand materials.

ILL requests should not be submitted for items that have not been published yet, except that Merlin members may place “Copy Returned Soonest” holds in Merlin for on-order items.

If the item is popular and there are multiple holds placed by your patrons, your library should consider purchasing a copy.

Popular titles should not be used to order multiple copies for book discussion groups.

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Requesting Locally owned Materials

Merlin Libraries

NWLS libraries that are part of Merlin should place holds in Merlin instead of sending requests downstate, unless the item is needed for a book discussion group.

Other NWLS Libraries

If your library is not part of Merlin and you own a copy of the item, you should place a hold on your own item instead of sending the request to another library, unless you need extra copies for a book discussion.

Book Discussion Group Requests

The DPI website provides a list of book kits available throughout Wisconsin for book clubs.  The WISCAT Multi-copy request function can be used to order copies from libraries outside of NWLS.  Multiple copies of titles for book groups are available from libraries throughout Wisconsin in kits. Libraries can borrow a kit by contacting the owning library. If your library has collections of books to lend, please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to add them to the list.

Book Club Selections

Requesting Titles in Merlin

Place item holds in Merlin when requesting multiple items attached to a record.

  • Include a deadline date.
  • Add a hold note when placing the hold: "book club" or "book group"

Options for Requesting in WISCAT

Option 1: Use the Multi-Copy Request option in WISCAT to order multiple copies.

  • Use a book group name or a patron name in the "patron Name" line on the WISCAT request form.
  • Include a "Need By" date on the WISCAT request form.
  • Merlin libraries can check WISCAT items out to individuals in the book group (see ILL checkout procedures)

Option 2: Submit a request in WISCAT for a book club kit of copies.

  • Search WISCAT using key words "book discussion kit".
  • If a  WISCAT record is not found for a kit listed on the "multiple Copies" list, use a blank request form and add a note (kit of 15 copies)

Option 3: Contact the library directly (if the kit list specifies "call").


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