When a request for material not owned by Ocean County Library is received by our Collections department, the item is first considered for purchase. Most older items requested are not available for purchase or are of special interest to a limited number of customers. These items (books, CDs, DVDs) are provided to our customers whenever possible through our inter-library loan system.
A network of libraries from all over the country lend and borrow from each other to provide access to more material than any one library could possible offer their customers. Ocean County Library’s Inter-library loan (ILL) department locates libraries that own the desired item and requests a loan from one. That library has three days to say yes or no. If yes, the item is shipped to Ocean County Library and the customer notified. If the answer is no, the next library on the list is contacted. If many libraries say no for whatever reason such as their copy is already checked out or it is a rare or fragile item, we keep trying more libraries but that can take time.
ILL items are loaned for 21 days. A renewal for an additional seven days is possible. Fines for late return of ILL items are 50 cents a day. If the item is shipped to the library, the customer notified but the item is not picked up by the customer, there is a $5 no pick up fee.
Sometimes a request is made for an item that is not owned by any United States library. It may be a self-published title or a DVD offered for sale only on one website. If there is not a library to borrow an item from, the request cannot be filled. A good way to check to see if what you want is available at other libraries is to search for it at Worldcat.org.