Q. I want a book that isn’t at the library- can I borrow it from another library?
You sure can! There are a few different ways. We'll start with the simplest and escalate to the more complicated. The directions below apply not just to books, but to scores and sometimes recordings and videos as well. The fine rates for each of these vary, so be sure you return or renew these materials on time!
- OhioLINK. OhioLINK is a statewide consortium of 88 college & university libraries, along with the State Library of Ohio. Participating OhioLINK institutions have agreed to let members from other institutions borrow collections (mostly books and scores, but occasionally sound and video recordings, too).
There are many services we get through OhioLINK, but let's focus on borrowing right now. There are a couple of ways to figure out if an institution in OhioLINK has the item you need. First, let's say you're looking in our own online catalog and don't find any results for the title you're trying to find. Click on the "Search OhioLINK" button at the top of your search results, and your search will be conducted again in the OhioLINK catalog. Or, you can go directly to the OhioLINK catalog to do your search if you've had no luck locally. If you find what you want, click on the item's title, consult the availability, and if there are copies that are "Available," click on the "Request" button. You'll need to log in with your BGSU user name and password. Your request will be submitted, and you'll get an email when the item arrives at BGSU. All users, regardless of status, get to borrow OhioLINK materials for 3 weeks at a time.
- Search Ohio. OhioLINK is extensive, but sometimes, there might be things that aren't owned even by all the libraries who participate. In such a case, your next step might be to place a request through Search Ohio, a consortium of several public library systems throughout the state. If you're looking for non-academic materials or sound and video recordings, you might have more success with Search Ohio than with OhioLINK.
To find something in SearchOhio, either click the "Search Ohio" button at the top of your OhioLINK search results, or go directly to the Search Ohio catalog. As with OhioLINK, you'll need to sign in, and you'll get an email notification when your Search Ohio request arrives. Again, you'll be able to borrow these item(s) for 3 weeks.
Interlibrary Loan (ILL). Interlibrary Loan (or ILL, as we say in libraries) is a service that allows users to borrow materials from libraries all over the country (and, occasionally, the world). For materials at libraries in Ohio, it's generally more efficient to use one of the two methods described above, but for materials from libraries outside of Ohio, ILL is the way to go. You might be asking yourself how you even know whether any library has the book or score you need if you can't find it in a local library. The simplest way to discover this is to look in WorldCat (sign in required off campus), a catalog of library contents from all over the world. Conduct your search using limits to help you narrow the results to specific format that you need. When you find something that looks useful, click on the item's title and assess the details to see if it's what you need. Underneath the "Get this item" heading, select "Request this item (ILLiad)." ILLiad is the interface we use to request ILLs, and you'll need to set up an account rather than using your BGSU credentials. If you already know that an item you need is not available via BGSU or the above methods, you can go directly to ILLiad to place a request, but you'll have to enter the information about the item(s) you're requesting in the form. Again, you'll get a message when the item arrives. Loan periods vary widely, so pay attention to that information when the item arrives.