Inter Library Loans


Purpose of Interlibrary Loan

Interlibrary loan (ILL) is the process by which a library requests material it does not own or have access to online, from another library.

Patron Eligibility

  • Must have a permanent Portsmouth Public Library (PPL) card
  • Card must be free of charges, library blocks (including overdue items) or past ILL problems.

Materials Offered

  • Books
  • Photocopies
  • Periodical / newspaper articles (must include complete bibliographic information)
  • Some libraries will not lend videos, CDs, DVDs, and books on tape.

Materials Not Offered

  • Computer software
  • New items (published within the past 12 months)
  • High demand items
  • Items already owned or items on-order
  • Reference materials

Interlibrary Loan Requests

Patrons are allowed a maximum of three active ILL’s at one time. An item is considered “active” from the time the patron makes the request until the time the item is returned to the Portsmouth Public Library. First time users must place a request in person. Thereafter, requests can be made in person or by telephone.

Loan Periods

Loan periods are determined by the lending library and PPL. The lending library and PPL have the right to place restrictions on, or recall loaned items at any time.

In-Library Use Only

Use is determined by the lending and/or borrowing library. This item can be viewed at the Portsmouth Public Library but cannot be checked out. Other restrictions may also apply.


Patrons who wish to renew, must notify the Portsmouth Public Library at least three days before the original due date. Some libraries will not allow renewals. Overdue items cannot be renewed


The ILL Department should be notified immediately (within five days) if material is no longer needed. Three or more cancellations within a 12 month period may result in loss of ILL privileges.

Check Out / Returns Ill

Items must be checked out and returned to the circulation desk where the initial request was made. (Do not return in book drop) 

All attached ILL labels, covers, stickers, etc., must be affixed to returned items. (Do not remove) Only the individual who requested the ILL will be allowed to pick it up. 

In extreme cases, e.g. (medical emergencies, etc.) an alternate person can pick it up only if they present the requesting persons’ library card. (Approval at the librarian's discretion)


$2 will be assessed for postage for each ILL request. Postage must be paid in full before ILL item is checked out and will be used to defray the cost of shipping. The Portsmouth Public Library will attempt to obtain items without charge, but some libraries will charge to lend rare books, photocopies, genealogical materials, etc.

Therefore, patrons must indicate (on the ILL form) the maximum amount they are willing to pay in case the lending library levies a cost. Patrons are liable for payment even if they decide not to use the requested ILL. A fine of $1 per day per item will be charged for overdue materials. Charges will be assessed for lost or damaged items. Payment for lost or damaged items must be in the form of check or money order made payable to the library that shipped the ILL(s).


For Lending policies, view the Lending page.

Approved by the Portsmouth Public Library Board on August 13, 2009