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Interlibrary Loan Frequently Asked Questions

The Lexington Public Library offers an Interlibrary Loan (ILL) service which allows cardholders to borrow books and magazine articles we do not own and cannot purchase. The Lexington Public Library also lends our books to libraries both inside and outside the Commonwealth of Kentucky.

Interlibrary Loan allows both public and academic libraries to share their circulating collections. The Lexington Public Library has access to over 4,000 participating libraries from which to borrow books. Many of these participating libraries borrow books from us as well.

Lending libraries provide material to us as a courtesy and we are required to follow the rules they establish pertaining to loan period, renewal policy, and any other conditions they choose to impose.


Interlibrary Loan Department

Voicemail: (859) 231-5527

Office Hours: M-F 8:00am-3:00pm

Email Address:




What kind of items can I ask for? 

Books or magazine articles that the Lexington Public Library does not already own. Microfilm reels can be requested, but are often difficult to obtain. When placing a request, offer as much information about the item as possible. You are limited to 7 active ILL requests at a time.

The library also borrows KET teacher training videos through ILL from the Kentucky Department for Libraries and Archives. Simply put “KET Training Video” in the Notes field in the request form.


What kind of items cannot be borrowed?

Newly published books (within twelve months of publication date), items that are in the Lexington Public Library’s circulating collection, e-books, textbooks, entire issues of magazines, DVDs, audiobooks, or other audio/visual material.

Items outside the United States cannot be borrowed.


What about reference and genealogical materials? 

Although we can request such materials, libraries are often unwilling to lend them. The Lexington Public Library does not lend its own reference books or materials kept in the Kentucky Room. However, sometimes photocopies of specified pages can be obtained. There is a Notes field in the request form if you are looking for specific information that can be copied (copy fees may apply). Census images are now available on our Ancestry Plus database.


There is a book the library owns but it can’t be checked out, or all the copies are lost. Can I request the book through Interlibrary Loan?

Non-circulating items can be requested through ILL, but lending libraries will usually not lend out reference materials. Lost titles can be requested also, but we would prefer replacing our copy if possible.


How much does it cost?

We make every attempt to obtain items for free, but some libraries do charge fees, anywhere from $5.00-$25.00. Please input the maximum amount you are willing to pay in the request form (this is a required field). This is your authorization for us to act as your agent in borrowing what you need from the lending library. The fee will be added to your library card account when the item arrives.

The overdue fine rate for borrowed material is $1.00 per day, up to the lending library’s price of the book.


How long does it take?

It varies. Some items arrive within a week; others may take several weeks. You will be notified by letter or e-mail when the request arrives. If you do not pick up the item, you are still responsible for any charges to which you previously agreed in order to obtain the item. We will notify you if we are not able to obtain the item.


Where do I pick up the item?

You will specify your pickup location in the request form. All Interlibrary Loan items may be picked up at the Circulation Desk during business hours. The exception is microfilm, which must be picked up and used in the Central Library’s Kentucky Room. Items designated “In Library Use Only” cannot be removed from the library and must be returned to the Circulation Desk after each use.

Please do not remove any labels and/or paperwork included with the item.


How long do I have to pick up the item?

ILL items will be held for 7 days after arrival.


How long may I keep the item?

The lending library determines the due date, usually two to three weeks. Please note that ILL items do NOT check out for the same amount of time as those from our own collection. The due date will be noted on the label or book-strap attached to the book. The overdue fine rate for borrowed material is $1.00 per day, up to the lending library’s cost of the book.


Can I renew my Interlibrary Loan item?

Renewals can be requested via the online system. Most lending libraries will allow one renewal, but they determine whether an item can be renewed, and if so, for how long. While the renewal request is pending, you may keep the item without incurring overdue fines if you have contacted us on or before the original due date. If the item is past due, you must contact us directly at 231-5527 or and you will be responsible for any fines accrued. You will be contacted when a renewal decision is made.


What if I have lost my Interlibrary Loan book?

The lending library determines what replacement charge will be assessed for any lost item. We are required to adhere to their policies regarding replacements. Any charge will be assessed to your library card account. An account balance of $25.00 or more will be referred to a materials recovery agency.


I have a new library card number, address, phone number, etc. How do I update my Interlibrary Loan account?

Updating your library card account will not make changes to your ILL account. Please contact us at (859) 231-5527 or if you need to update your customer information.


What if I forget my password?

Your ILL account uses the same 4-digit PIN that is used to log into your regular library account.  Your default PIN is typically the last 4 digits of the phone number associated with your library account.  If you need help resetting your PIN, you can contact us here.


Who do I contact if I have problems with or questions about Interlibrary Loan?

If you are having difficulty with the system, or have questions about Interlibrary Loan:

ILL voicemail: (859) 231-5527 or e-mail:

Office hours are M-F 8:00am to 3:00pm