Interlibrary loan is the process by which a library requests material from, or supplies material to, another library. The following suggestions may help you in defining your ILL workflow and procedures.
As a general principle, process material and requests in batches as much as possible. Divide the ILL work in two: Borrowing (for your patrons) and Lending (to other libraries). On the premise that you owe your patrons a greater obligation, prioritize Borrowing over Lending. Nevertheless, lending requests should be processed as soon as possible, preferably within 24 to 48 hours.
Note: This is just intended as a general outline. The process will vary, depending on the delivery and recordkeeping systems being used.
As incoming shipments of materials are received (whether via courier, U. S. Mail, email, etc.), separate the materials into incoming Borrowing and returning Lending.
Receiving incoming materials:
Returning materials to other libraries:
Receiving materials returned from other libraries:
Renewal requests on either the Borrowing or Lending side may be handled as requests arise, or you may prefer to process them in daily or twice daily batches.
For borrowing requests for copies or reproductions only:
Retention of the current calendar year's records, plus the previous three calendar years' records of filled requests, is required by the CONTU Guidelines. This requirement only applies to filled requests for copies or reproductions -- not to filled loan requests or any unfilled requests.
Be ready to call a lending institution if necessary to get an item in a hurry. Consult the CDLC ILL Directory or OCLC's Policies Directory for contact information. In return, be prepared to lend or supply an article in a hurry if you have that capability. It all helps!