Frequently Asked Questions

How long does it take to get Interlibrary Loan materials?

Interlibrary Loan requests usually arrive within 10-14 days, but can take as long as 4-5 weeks. Arrival time depends on the lending libraries who own the requested item and the postal service.

How will I be notified when my material is available?

When setting up your account, select your preferred contact method: email, phone, or postcard. If you request an email, please make sure that is marked as a safe email otherwise your notice may end up a junk/spam folder.

When the ILL office contacts you regarding the arrival of your item, they will tell you when and where to pickup your item(s). Lending libraries set the checkout period for Interlibrary Loan materials, so please pick up your materials as soon as possible, giving you adequate time to use them.

Why are the due dates different on the two books I just received?

Lending periods are determined by the lending library, not NPL. They usually range from 2 to 12 weeks.

How can I access a photocopy that was sent to me online?

You can either click on the link in the email or visit the ILL site. Log in with your library card and PIN number. Click on Electronic Delivery (left) to view your article. Please note - Electronic Delivery is not available to patron without emails. For patrons without emails, photocopies will be printed and sent to the preferred pick-up branch and patron will be notified by mail or phone.

I requested an item a month ago but haven’t be contacted. What should I do?

First of all, check your email - especially the junk/spam folder. We may have contacted you and the message was redirected. You can also log in to your Interlibrary Loan account (with your library card number and PIN) to check the status of your requested materials. If you still don’t see anything, please call 615-862-5780, have your library card number handy and someone will be happy to help you.

My requested item came in as Library Use Only. What does that mean?

Library Use Only means that the book may be used only at the Main Library - Downtown, and may not be taken home with the patron. Most textbooks and other rare or fragile books are usually lent as Library Use Only. Library Use Only books are available for use at the Main Library - Downtown in the Nashville Room on the second floor. Patrons may ask at the service desk for their books.

How many times can I renew an item?

Interlibrary Loan items, unless otherwise marked, can usually be renewed for a single, two-week renewal period. Please request a renewal, either online or over the phone, prior to your item’s due date. Some items do come in with NO RENEWALS and the band will be marked as such. These items usually have a longer initial lending period.

How do I renew my book online?

Log in to your Interlibrary Loan account and click on Checked Out Items in the menu on the left. When your list of checked out items comes up, simply click on the Transaction Number of the item you want to renew. If the book is able to be renewed, Renew Request will show in red above the transaction information. Click this link to renew your book for a single, two-week period. If there is no link present, the book is unable to be renewed.

My item was recalled. What does that mean?

Either your item is overdue and needs to be returned, or the original lending library has requested that the material be returned. A recall from the lending library negates any amount of time left on your loan and the item should be returned as soon as possible to your nearest branch. If possible, once the item is off your record, we can then try to request a second copy for you from a different lending library.

Where do I return my materials?

Interlibrary Loan materials may be returned to any branch of the Nashville Public Library. Please return ILL materials during business hours and do not place them in book drops.


Interlibrary Loan materials will be checked in off your account as soon as they return to the ILL office. For items returned to any branch outside of the Main library, please allow 2-3 business days due to transit time. This WILL NOT affect your return date, but it will stop you from requesting more than your allotted five items until the returned items have been processed.

Why can’t I borrow movies or music through Interlibrary Loan?

Nashville Public Library policy restricts Interlibrary Loan borrowing and lending to books, photocopies, or microfilm. We will not borrow ebooks or Audiovisual items (DVDs, CDs, audiobooks, etc.).

I just put in 5 requests - why won’t my account let me do more?

Patrons are only allowed five active Interlibrary Loan requests at one time - including photocopies, books, and microfilm.

Why can’t I take off the white band on the book?

Those bands contain the information for the lending libraries and patrons. If these bands get removed the items may not get checked in properly upon return, which could result in annoying emails and/or blocked accounts with bills for patrons who choose to remove the bands. DO NOT REMOVE WHITE INFORMATION BAND.

Why do I need a Library Card and PIN to use Interlibrary Loan?

Your Library Card and PIN allows us to give you secure access to information about your Interlibrary Loan requests. You may place new requests, check on the status of old requests, renew items, and update personal information like email or phone number.

What if I forget my PIN?

If you forget your PIN, please contact the Interlibrary Loan office at 615-862-5780 for assistance.

What if I am a First-Time User, but the website will not let me register because my PIN does not match?

If the Interlibrary Loan office previously created an online account for you, your four digit year of birth was substituted as a PIN. Login with your Library Card number and year of birth. Once you login, you may change your PIN by clicking Change PIN on the left hand column under My Account. If you are still having problems logging in, please call 615-862-5780 for assistance.

I just checked my library card account and don’t see my Interlibrary Loan items. Where are they?

Interlibrary Loan items do not show in your normal library card account. They will only be visible in your separate Interlibrary Loan account, but you use the same library card number and pin to view both accounts.

I just checked my Interlibrary Loan account and the request disappeared, but I know it’s on the way. What happened?

In your Interlibrary Loan account, only outstanding requests will be shown on the main page. Once the item is checked out to you, it will show under the Checked Out items on the left side of the page. You can also view your Cancelled Requests, Finished Requests (what you’ve turned in), All Requests, and Notifications (emails we sent) by clicking on the left column.

Why does my account say an item is checked out to me? I haven’t picked it up yet.

Once an item leaves our office, it is checked out to the patron who requested it. We will send the items to branches and contact patrons, but it is up to the patrons to pick up the book as soon as possible to maximize their check out period.

Does it cost to use Interlibrary Loan?

Most of our requested materials are borrowed from libraries with whom we have reciprocal agreements so there is no cost. Once in a while, more hard-to-find materials may only be borrowed from libraries that charge a fee. In cases such as these, patrons will be contacted prior to incurring any expense. If a patron still wishes to borrow these items, payment in full (via check or money order) will need to be delivered to the Interlibrary Loan office prior to receiving the book. Payment instructions will be given to the patron when the book is requested.

However, should a patron lose or damage a book, patron is responsible for full replacement cost plus any charges (as determined by the lending library). Charges will be placed on patron’s NPL library account until paid.

What is the fine if I turn my Interlibrary Loan book in late?

Fines are determined by the lending library. Most libraries do not want to deal with daily fines, so for any books that are overdue they will just bill the patron for the full cost of the book. This amount usually causes the patron’s library card to be blocked and limits his/her use of the library until the item is paid for. Please return ILL books in a timely manner so other libraries will continue to lend to Nashville Public Library.

Is security a problem if I use a public workstation?

Yes. Web browsers cache information and create a history file on the local workstation. This allows a subsequent user of the workstation to access the system under your name using the browser's Back button to recall a page from the cache, or by finding a page with your personal information in the browser's history file. If you are concerned about the security of your interlibrary loan requests, you can take the following steps:

  • Access Interlibrary Loan only from your personal computer or an otherwise secure workstation.
  • When using a public access workstation:
    1. Delete from the history file those pages that contain your personal information.
    2. Logoff your account (by clicking Logoff under My Account) before leaving the station. This prevents the Back button from accessing any pages your were using.

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

If you do not see the answer to your question here or are still having trouble logging in, please call 615-862-5780 and have your library card. Our office hours are M-F, 9-5.

What Web browser should I use?

You need a Web browser that can handle forms, tables, and preferably Cascading Style Sheets (CSS). We recommend the current versions of either Microsoft Internet Explorer or Mozilla Firefox.

Why does my browser say that you're sending a cookie? What's in it?

The technology that we use sends a Session ID to be stored on your machine. You can refuse this cookie and still be able to use Interlibrary Loan without any problems.