Interlibrary Loan Requests


For NWLS libraries that are Merlin members, items from the Merlin catalog can be requested by staff or directly by patrons using their library card. If your copy was requested but you can't locate it, please change the item status to MISSING. Notify the requesting library if you own the only Merlin copy.


For items not available in Merlin, WISCAT can be used to borrow from other Wisconsin library systems.

If an item cannot be verified in Merlin, WISCAT or in other sources, the request can be sent to NWLS using one of the forms of delivery below. WISCAT ILL libraries can use the blank ILL form to send the request to NWLS.

  • Email: Linda Stobbe
  • Fax NWLS: 715-685-2704
  • Telephone NWLS: 715-682-2365 or 800-228-5684
  • Delivery service

Genealogy Requests

Genealogical materials seldom circulate, so the patron must supply information that can be copied from the item requested. Ancestry Library Edition is available to use in any NWLS member library. Local historical societies or groups are other sources for information for patrons. Libraries can find information on how to submit genealogy requests in the ILL Guidelines in the “Best Practices” section.

Another option is for the patron to travel to the Wisconsin Historical Society or one of their Area Research Centers before using interlibrary loan. There are two research centers in our library system area:

  • At Superior Public Library (Many items have been added to the Merlin catalog.)
  • At the Northern Great Lakes Visitor Center in Ashland.
    For information on any of the Wisconsin Historical Society’s Area Research Centers, go to the research center map on the Historical Society’s Web page and choose the county of interest.

Microfilm can be borrowed through Interlibrary Loan from the Wisconsin State Historical Society.  For an example of a microfilm created using a blank form, go to Blank Forms.

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Periodical or Serial Requests

Search the Merlin Catalog

NWLS libraries can order entire issues of magazines when they are owned within the library system. Many libraries have added serial records to the Merlin catalog. Be sure to check Merlin for issues of specific periodicals.

Search BadgerLink / ILL requests 

If the periodical issue is not owned within NWLS, ask the patron for articles or information that can be photocopied. Most libraries outside the system do not lend whole issues of magazines. If copies cannot be provided of specific information or articles, consider one of the following options:

  • Provide the patron with an address and/or phone number of the publisher for purchasing the  issue of the magazine.
  • Request from an owning library a copy of the table of contents of the specific issue so the patron can determine which article(s) to request.
  • Provide the patron with names of nearby libraries that own issues of the periodical. The issues could be viewed at one of the owning libraries.

Use BadgerLink to search for all periodical requests. Use the "Find" links to choose from a group of databases by type. Or go to the "All Resources" link at the top for advanced search options or to choose from an alphabetical list.

Periodical requests should be submitted to NWLS using a blank request form in WISCAT. Type the magazine or journal title in the "Title" field. Then for "Request Type Option" choose "Non-Returnable Copy", and for "Material Bibliographic Level Options" choose "Serial". Choosing these options will add article information fields for you to fill out in the form. Since most libraries outside of NWLS will not loan periodicals, be sure to include as much of the following information as possible. For an example of a serial request created using a blank form, go to Blank Forms.

  • Complete title of the periodical (do not abbreviate).
  • Full name of the author of the article (last name first).
  • Complete title of the article. If exact title is not known, give the subject of the article.
  • Volume number and issue number, if known.
  • Date: (month, day and year) or (season and year) of the issue.
  • Page numbers of the article, if known.

Reference Requests

Determine as closely as possible the type, amount and technical level of the information the patron needs as well as the format (magazine articles, audiovisual materials, books). If the patron is a student, determine the appropriate grade level. Send this information along with the request to Northern Waters Library Service on WISCAT ILL, email or fax.  Reference requests can also be submitted in WISCAT.  For an example of a reference request created using a blank form, go to Blank Forms.

NWLS is available to assist with reference questions during office hours Monday-Friday 8:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. Contact Linda Stobbe by email or phone.