Birmingham Public Library
2100 Park Place
Birmingham, Alabama 35203
Interlibrary Loan
Interlibrary Loan through WorldCat Discovery

The Interlibrary Loan (ILL) service makes it possible for library users in Jefferson County to borrow books, photocopies of articles, and government publications not already owned by the public libraries of Jefferson County. Through WorldCat Discovery, library users may search and request titles from public and academic libraries across the United States.

Location of Interlibrary Loan

ILL requests may be submitted at any public library in Jefferson County, online via WorldCat Discovery or by calling the Interlibrary Loan Office at (205) 226-3730.

Hours of Operation
Monday through Friday 9:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
Eligible Users

Interlibrary Loan is available to anyone 18 years of age or older with a current Jefferson County Public Library Card.


This service is free of charge. Occasionally, however, the lending library will charge a fee. The patron may preauthorize acceptance of any fees on the ILL request form or will be notified of any fees before the material is ordered.

How to use Interlibrary Loan

Search the library catalog first to see if the material you need is owned by a public library in Jefferson County, AL

If no public library in Jefferson County owns the material you want, you can search for it on WorldCat Discovery. When you find the desired item, click on the title, then on the next screen click the blue button labeled "Request Item Through Interlibrary Loan."

This will take you to the ILL request form. Be sure to enter all the required information, including your name, address, telephone, library card number, and the name of the library at which you would like to pick up your material.

Click "Submit," and your request is on its way.

If you prefer not to use a form online, you may go to any public library in Jefferson County and ask a librarian for the Interlibrary Loan form.

  1. Fill out the form completely.
  2. Give an accurate bibliographic citation and the source of each reference.
  3. Provide your library card number, name, phone number, and address.
  4. Fill out a separate form for each item you want.

Turn in the completed form(s) at your local library. Forms that are illegible, incomplete, or have inaccurate citations delay the process.


To insure that requests are processed promptly, please limit requests to ten (10) "in-process" at a time. For books, in-process is the time from when a request is made until the time is returned to the library. For photocopies, the transaction is complete when they are picked up by the patron.

The following materials cannot be requested through Interlibrary Loan:
  • entire issues of a periodical
  • most genealogical material
  • new books published in the last year
  • audiovisual material
  • reference books
  • textbooks
  • musical scores

National, regional, and state ILL codes may restrict or limit borrowing in some cases, i.e., picture or easy books, sound recordings, and other audiovisual material, multiple copies of books, and photocopies of more than five articles from a single periodical published within the past five years.

Time to Fulfillment

Most requests are filled within 7-10 days. However, delays are common and there is no guarantee that a request can be filled at all.

Lending libraries may take up to 28 days to respond to a loan request. Materials may be unavailable at the lending library, or the owning library may simply choose not to loan the material. In such cases, a second, and sometimes a third library must be contacted. A sudden influx of ILL requests may also slow the process.

Reinitiating Request

A patron may ask that an unfilled request by reinitiated. However, the Interlibrary Loan Staff must first determine if there is sufficient reason to expect a second request to be filled. The user may be asked to provide additional information or to agree to conditions established by the lending library (for example, in-library use only or an increased lending fee).


When the material arrives, the patron is notified either by telephone or by email. Materials received through ILL are picked up at the library specified on the request form. Any fees charged y the lending library must be paid at this time. Materials not picked up within 3 days after notification of arrival will be returned to the lending library.

Loans and Returns

ILL books are identified by a white strip of paper wrapped around the cover that contains the book barcode and other information relating to the borrowed item. The loan period for books is three weeks unless otherwise specified by the lending library. Material may be returned to the circulation desk of any library in the Public Libraries in Jefferson County system.

Please do not return Interlibrary Loan materials in outside book-drops.

Please do not remove the ILL wrapper that identifies the item as an Interlibrary Loan.  

Patrons will be charged one dollar ($1.00) per day for each day that an Interlibrary Loan book is overdue, with a maximum fine of $25.00 per item.

Patrons will be charged two dollars ($2.00) if the ILL wrapper is missing at the time of return. 

Loan Recalls

The lending library retains the right to request the immediate return of any material it has loaned to the Birmingham Public Library and the public libraries of Jefferson County at any time before the original due date given. In these rare instances, Interlibrary Loan will contact the patron and inform them of the new due date. The patron will owe an overdue fine for any materials returned after this newly established due date.

Renewal Request

To renew ILL checkouts, patrons must contact the ILL office at (205) 226-3730 during business hours. Any request for renewals must be made before the due date. The lending library determines the length of time, if any, that the loan period may be extended. Some items borrowed through ILL are marked "NO RENEWAL."

Lost/Damaged Materials

The lending library will determine the replacement cost of any lost or damaged material. In addition to the replacement cost of the book, there is usually a restock fee added to cover shipping and the cost of cataloging the replaced item.

Page Last Modified: 5/11/2016 10:18 AM