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Interlibrary Loan: FAQs

A guide to resource sharing activities and services at MLS and beyond.

Resource Sharing at MLS

State-wide Delivery via the MLS 

Document Delivery via the BPL

State-wide eContent
Online resources made available through MLS and the MBLC

Interlibrary Loan

Interstate Delivery
Resource Sharing with Rhode Island

MassCat is a resource sharing network for school, special and small public libraries.

Related Services and Partners

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Frequently asked questions

Questions about the service:

What is mediated interlibrary loan?

Mediated interlibrary loan refers to borrowing and lending requests between one library to another facilitated by our Resource Sharing Staff on behalf our member libraries. This does not refer to items shared within networks or via MassCat, the Commonwealth Catalog, or Point-to-Point sharing. Libraries should try to fill borrowing requests through their local network first and comply with their sharing policies. Requests that cannot be filled through these services can be sent to the Resource Sharing Team, who can borrow materials from anywhere in the US and Canada.

What type of items can be borrowed?

Libraries may request any type of material via interlibrary loan. However, it is difficult to borrow software, entire issues of periodicals, rare materials, materials classified as reference materials, genealogy, and items in high demand at the lending library including newly acquired material and bestsellers. For more details about our service, read our ILL Policy.


How do I request journal articles?

The Boston Public Library provides document delivery service for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. To request a journal or newspaper article login to BPL's ILLiad service here. For more instructions on making requests, read these instructions.


Do you charge for the service?

Interlibrary loan service is free to all member libraries. (To learn more about MLS membership, click here). Libraries outside of delivery do require the borrowing library to pay the return shipping costs. Additionally some libraries, especially large research institutions, do charge a lending fee. Be sure to specify in your request the maximum amount you or your patron are willing to pay for shipping and fees.


Do you interlibrary loan e-books?

Currently, the MLS mediated interlibrary loan service can only request returnable items. At this time is not possible for us to borrow electronic resources.


Who should I contact with questions about the Commonwealth Catalog?

The Commonwealth Catalog is administered jointly by the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners (MBLC) and Fenway Libraries Online (FLO). If you have questions or need support for a request, please contact them at or 617-442-2384.

Questions about making and managing requests:

How do I login to make a request?

To access the New Request form, go to Login in with your library's BPL number (2999...) and the password "ill". For more explanation watch this screencast tutorial.


How do I login to update requests I've received?

To update your active requests, use the Clio in the Cloud 2.0 interface at Login with your ILL code as both the username and password. For more explanation on how to update ILL requests, view these tutorials


What if I don't know my BPL number or ILL Code?

If you need to find out your BPL number (login ID for ILL and ILLiad requests) or your ILL Code, email the Resource Sharing Team.

What if my contact or library information has changed?

If you need any contact or library information changed in your Clio profile, please contact the Resource Sharing Team at Also contact us if you have any funding or policy changes impacting the maximum shipping and fees your library can pay for ILL requests.

What if I receive an item I don't think I requested?

If this happens, e-mail the Resource Sharing Team. Most of the time it is another library's request that has been shipped incorrectly by the lender. We will log the mistake and tell you where to send the item. We also want to know if the item we ordered does not accurately match the original request.



Contact us!

Resource Sharing Team
866-627-7228 select option #4

Laura Bogart, Resource Sharing Assistant x318

Kathryn Bowen, Resource Sharing Assistant x321

Vincent Nguyen, Resource Sharing Assistant x316

Alison DeMers, Resource Sharing Librarian x317

Scott Kehoe, Library Resources Director x308

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