Interlibrary Loan is one of the most underused resources for
genealogists. As I teach classes at the Mesa Arizona Regional Family
History Center I frequently ask the class participants if they are aware
of the interlibrary loan process. Usually, only one or two out of
twenty or more have even heard of borrowing books from remote libraries.
In our own Mesa Public Library, the Interlibrary Loan selection appears
on the individual login screen for registered users (i.e. library card
holders). I use this method of requesting books and other documents any
time I cannot conveniently find a copy of the material in a local
library. The requested item is then forwarded to your local library
where you can either check out the material (in Mesa for two weeks) or
use the item in the library. At the end of the process the book is
returned to the originating library. There is usually no charge for this
service to the user.
The libraries who participate include the Library of Congress
Virtually all of the holdings of the Library of Congress, except some
rare books, are available for circulation to participating libraries.
The Library of Congress describes the process as follows:
Before making a request, verify that the item exists and is held by LC. Requests should be verified through an electronic database
or other standard bibliographic tool, preferably also in the Library of Congress Online Catalog.
The most useful identifiers are online record numbers such as the
Library of Congress control number (e.g., 9712456), the International
Standard Book Number (ISBN), or the OCLC record number. Include these,
or a citation to a published tool such as the National Union Catalog,