Interlibrary Loan

Are you looking for something that is not available through the McAllen or Hidalgo County public libraries? Try our Interlibrary Loan service, through which you can request an item from any library in Texas.

Please check the McAllen and Hidalgo County library catalogs before requesting materials through ILL. Requests for items owned by McAllen Public Library and its branches will not be processed unless items requested are more than 30 days overdue or lost on the circulation system. You may also search for and request items through Hidalgo County Library System Catalog.

Click here to access the Interlibrary Loan Catalog and place a request.

If you need help placing a request, see our Interlibrary Loan Request Guide.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is interlibrary loan (ILL)?
Because no library can own everything, Interlibrary Loan is a system that allows libraries to share resources with one another. The ILL Department locates a potential lending library and sends a request to borrow the item you seek. The lending library photocopies articles or checks out the material in the name of McAllen Public Library. It then mails it to MPL for you to pick up and check out on your library card.

How do I order an ILL?
Interlibrary Loan requests should now be placed online using the Texas Group Catalog/Navigator ILL system. Patrons are limited to 6 active requests (filled or pending) at any given time through ILL. You must have a valid McAllen Public Library card, PIN number, and email address. It is highly encouraged for patrons to have an email address so that notices can be sent concerning their ILL request. If you do not have access to a computer, you can still place an ILL request at the reference desks of all three library locations.  

What information do I need to place an ILL request?
For each item you request, the following information is needed: author’s name, title of book, and date of publication (if known). When requesting an article from a magazine or journal, you will need the title of the journal, article title, volume number, and pages in which the article appears.

Why am I having trouble placing my ILL request online?
If you are having trouble placing your ILL request and you see an error message, you will need to check on the status of your library account. There are several possibilities that could create a restriction. You could have overdue library materials, an outstanding fine of $1.00 or more, lost items, or an old address or phone number on your account. You will need to correct any restriction before you can place your ILL request.

How much does it cost?
We do not currently charge any fees for Interlibrary Loan unless they are assessed by the lending library. Photocopies of articles are often provided free of charge or for a minimal fee. Please state on each form the maximum expense you are willing to pay for the requested material. Fines for overdue ILL materials are $0.10 per day. If an item is lost or damaged, you are responsible for the replacement cost plus any additional processing fees assessed by the lending library.

How long will it take?
The length of time involved in obtaining a loan or photocopy can vary considerably. We are unable to control the length of time that lending libraries take to send requested items. However, most materials can be obtained between two weeks and two months after your request is submitted. Be sure to submit requests well in advance of your need for them. You will be notified by e-mail or by telephone (if you do not provide an e-mail address) when the material arrives. Materials ready for pick up are held at the circulation desk for SEVEN DAYS. If we are unable to fulfill your request, you will receive notification of the UNFILLED status by email.

How long do I get to keep the material?
The lending library determines the loan period and renewal policy for its materials. You can expect to keep most materials for two weeks. Interlibrary Loan is essential to the vitality of our resource sharing system. Borrowing materials from other institutions is a privilege. Occasionally, libraries will lend materials with certain restrictions, such as in-library use only, a shorter check-out period, or no renewal. Our library respects all restrictions placed on materials by the lending library. Users are expected to honor due dates and comply with any restrictions stipulated by the lending library. ILL relies on consideration and good will between libraries. When ILL materials are not returned promptly, it reflects poorly on the borrowing library and some lenders may stop lending materials to the offending library. Please return your ILL materials on or before the due date printed on your check out slip.

Where should ILL books be returned?
We encourage patrons to return ILL materials to the library location where they first picked them up so that paperwork can be cleared before they are returned to the lending library. Do not return ILL materials in the book drop. Please return them to the circulation desk.

How are books renewed?
The lending library decides on a case-by-case basis whether or not to renew. If you should need to make a renewal, you must contact the ILL office three days before the due date. We will make a request for renewal. You will then be contacted regarding the lending library's decision. Lending libraries will not grant renewals for overdue books. Any items not granted renewal must be returned by the due date or you will be subject to fines. Media materials (DVD & CD formats) are loaned for 2 weeks only with no renewals.

What kinds of materials are difficult or impossible to get?
Although we attempt to fulfill almost any request, the following types of materials are often difficult (or impossible) to obtain through Interlibrary Loan:
• Recently published books (less than 6 months old)
• Entire volumes or issues of periodicals
• Reference works
• Rare books or original manuscripts
• Audiobooks, videos, DVDs or computer software
• Some doctoral dissertations and master’s theses
• Genealogy materials are extremely difficult to acquire, but we are usually able to obtain photocopies (30 page maximum)
• Some microfilm is available, but usually involves a lengthy wait due to limited availability

All Interlibrary Loan services are governed by the American Library Association Interlibrary Loan Code, national and regional agreements, and the Copyright Law (PL 94-553).

Interlibrary Loan 
McAllen Public Library
4001 N. 23rd St. 
McAllen, TX 78504 
Phone: (956) 681-3000 

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