You may be able to borrow materials Multnomah County Library doesn't own through interlibrary loan. Library systems across the United States and Canada may lend items from their collections.
Please direct all interlibrary loan questions to Multnomah County Library.
Interlibrary loan services are available to people who live or pay property taxes in Multnomah County, or who pay an annual fee for library services.
Create an account
- Go to the Interlibrary loan sign-up page (available in English only).
- Review the agreements and click “I agree” to open the registration form.
- Fill out the registration form and submit.
- Log into your interlibrary loan account.
- Select the appropriate request form for the loan type.
- This will redirect you to WorldCat, where you can search for items.
- If you cannot find the item in WorldCat, you can submit a request by clicking on the “Blank loan form” and entering all the information you have about it.
- When you find the item you want in WorldCat, click on the title to go to the Detailed Record.
- Click the “Request item” button.
- Review the loan request form.
- Click “Submit request.”
- Log in to your interlibrary loan account.
- Items that have arrived at the interlibrary loan office will be under “Checked out.”
- Articles delivered electronically will be under “Available.”
- Items that have not arrived at the interlibrary loan office will be under “In process.”
- Prior requests will be under “Canceled requests” or “Previous requests.” This information is available for six months.
- Log in to your interlibrary loan account.
- Under the “In process” section, find the title you want to cancel.
- Click “Cancel request.”
- Items must be checked out on the account that placed the Interlibrary Loan request.
- If someone other than the account holder picks up the Interlibrary Loan item, they need to have the physical library card with them.
- Please pick up a new card at any library location.
- Once you get a new library card, create a new interlibrary loan account with your new card number.
- Place interlibrary loan requests on your new interlibrary loan account.
- Library staff will merge the two interlibrary loan accounts.
- The copyright law of the United States (Title 17, United States Code) governs the making of photocopies or other reproductions of copyrighted materials.
- Under certain conditions specified in the law, libraries and archives are authorized to furnish a photocopy or other reproduction. One of these specified conditions is that the photocopy or reproduction is not to be "used for any purpose other than private study, scholarship, or research." If a user makes a request for, or later uses, a photocopy or reproduction for purposes in excess of "fair use," that user may be liable for copyright infringement.
- This institution reserves the right to refuse to accept a copying order if, in its judgment, fulfillment of the order would involve violation of copyright law.
Interlibrary loan FAQ
Interlibrary loan services are available to people who live or pay property taxes in Multnomah County or pay an annual fee for library services. Interlibrary loan materials can be checked out only on the library card of the person who requested them.
Many libraries charge interlibrary loan fees for shipping, materials, staff time and other costs.
- We will ask libraries that don’t charge fees first.
- Multnomah County Library pays the first $10.
- You can set a limit for how much you are willing to pay.
Items that are 30 days overdue or returned with significant damage will result in a $50 minimum fee. This fee will increase if the cost of the item is higher.
You are allowed two active requests.
- A request is active from the time you submit it online until the item is returned to the interlibrary loan office.
- Copies or scanned PDF articles are active until they arrive from the lending library.
- It may take up to a week for returned items to be updated in your My MCL account.
- Requests are deleted from your account after six months.
- Patrons with overdue interlibrary loan items may not check out additional items through interlibrary loan.
Items from libraries located in the United States or Canada:
- Print books
- Audiobooks on CD
- Copies of articles
- Nonfiction video recordings on DVD or Blu-ray (documentaries and how-to videos)
- Music scores
The library is unable to borrow:
- Items already in the Multnomah County Library collection.
- Items published in the current calendar year
- Ebooks and downloadable audiobooks
- Musical recordings, software, video games or fictional video recordings (DVD or Blu-ray) in any format
- Books printed before 1800. We will try to borrow these materials in reprint or microform, if available.
- Bound periodicals. We can request photocopies of specific articles or microform.
- Archival material like original letters, original photographs, or collections of mixed materials
- Items in Europe or other areas of the world
Interlibrary loan arrival times depend on the type of item, the lending library, and the delivery method.
Typical estimated arrival times:
- Books may take three weeks or longer.
- Electronic articles may take 5-10 days to be delivered or longer.
- Mailed articles may take two weeks or longer.
An item may be on its way, but delayed because of inclement weather or other delivery issues. We monitor requests shipped to us and will try to get a copy from another library when 30 days have passed.
- For most items, you will get a hold pickup notice.
- For electronic articles, you will get an email. You can log into your interlibrary loan account to view the available item.
- Copied articles will be mailed to you.
- You will be called when in-library use items are available.
Special paperwork is attached to interlibrary loan items, including a paper band with the due date. Please keep all paperwork together with the item.
- Most loan periods are around three weeks. Check the paper band on your item or your My MCL account.
- Due dates can vary because they are set by the lending library.
- The loan period starts when items are sent to your library for pick up, not when the item is checked out to you.
- Interlibrary loan items do not automatically renew like items owned by Multnomah County Library.
Overdue interlibrary loan items must be returned before more interlibrary loan items may be checked out.
You can request a renewal in your interlibrary loan account or by contacting us.
- You may request one renewal on an item. Renewals are not guaranteed.
- You may not renew if the paper band on your item says that the item cannot be renewed.
- Overdue interlibrary loan items cannot be renewed.
There are many reasons that an interlibrary loan request may go unfilled.
- Even if a library is shown as owning a title in WorldCat, it is not obligated to lend a specific title.
- WorldCat may indicate that a library owns a title, but the library may no longer have a copy.
- A library may offer to lend the copy but later discover it is too fragile or damaged to lend.
We may suggest you try requesting the item again later if:
- Sometimes all copies of a title are currently checked out at all possible lenders.
- Sometimes the library that might loan it is temporarily closed. This often happens in the summer with college libraries.
- Libraries often don’t lend current editions of textbooks. We may be able to find an earlier edition.