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VIVA: VIVA Interlibrary Loan Guidelines

Virginia's Academic Library Consortium

This guide has variable layouts and houses the majority of the "sub" pages for VIVA's website.

VIVA Interlibrary Loan Guidelines

(Approved December 4, 2013)

I. Principles

  1. The guidelines will be reviewed annually by the VIVA Resource Sharing Committee.
  2. These guidelines are minimal guidelines, which may be exceeded by mutual agreement between individual libraries on a case-by-case basis.
  3. The Copyright Law of the United States (Title 17, United States Code) allows the making of photocopies and other reproductions of copyrighted materials for interlibrary loan.  VIVA members comply with Federal copyright law and other applicable state and Federal law in interlibrary loan transactions.
  4. VIVA members should not charge each other for interlibrary loan services.
  5. Matters of interlibrary loan not specifically addressed by these guidelines are covered by the established policies and procedures of the lending library.
  6. All VIVA libraries should have and use a secure electronic document transmission system such as Article Exchange.
  7. Participating libraries will, from time to time, have internal circumstances that will prohibit the lending or copying of certain items. However, each library should be as generous and responsive as possible.
  8. Even though ILL service is greatly curtailed during the winter holidays, VIVA libraries should strive to fill each other's requests during these periods as effectively as possible under prevailing staffing and mailing difficulties.
  9. Contract negotiators in VIVA libraries will be encouraged to include permission for interlibrary lending of electronic materials in contracts for electronic resources purchased by their institution.

 II. Procedures

  1. All interlibrary loan staff members of VIVA institutions should subscribe to the VIVAILL-L listserv.  To subscribe go to:
  2. 48 Hour Standard: VIVA libraries should strive to have materials requested by another VIVA library shipped to the requester by the appropriate means within 48 hours. If a request cannot be filled the lender should say no on OCLC as soon as possible within 48 hours so that the request moves on to the next lender.
  3. All requests should be sent by OCLC so that the messaging capability of the OCLC ILL System can be used. Libraries should maintain their current practices for initiating and filling rush requests. Libraries should update all OCLC records (shipped, received, returned, etc.) promptly.  Libraries should also strive to maintain current and up-to-date union catalog holdings.
  4. VIVA libraries should maintain their current information in their OCLC Policies Directory record(s), including supplier status updates.
  5. VIVA libraries should maintain accurate constant data, including email and shipping addresses.
  6. When a library is experiencing disruptions in systems or staffing that significantly affect ILL operations, VIVA ILL departments should be notified promptly via the VIVAILL-L listserv (
  7. Each request sent to another VIVA library should have "VIVA" as the first word in the "Affiliation" field of the OCLC ILL workform.

III.   Returnables (including books, bound journals, audio and visual materials, and some microform)

  1. Returnables, other than the special materials in Section IV below, will be loaned to VIVA libraries for eight weeks or more with renewals granted on a case-by-case basis. 
  2. Lending libraries may recall materials at any time, and borrowing libraries should respond in a timely manner.
  3. Every effort should be made to return material on time to the lending library. The lending library should send overdue notices directly to the borrowing library.  The lending library is responsible for notifying the borrowing library of material that is not returned promptly.
  4. The borrowing library has final responsibility for any materials borrowed for its patrons. Should material be lost or damaged, the borrowing library is responsible for reimbursing the lending library for the replacement and processing costs, or repair costs, as determined by the lending library.
  5. VIVA lending libraries should use the express mail service of their choice for shipping returnable materials and for non-returnables that cannot be sent via secure electronic document transmission.
  6. In the interest of minimizing the period of time that materials are unavailable to users at the home institution, VIVA borrowing libraries should use the express mail service of their choice for returning materials to lenders.

IV.   Non-Returnables (including scans and photocopies)

  1. Whenever possible, non-returnables should be delivered to VIVA libraries by secure electronic document transmission. However, the lending library may send materials the fastest and most cost-effective way possible depending on the circumstances.
  2. If the borrowing library requests materials in greyscale or color, the lending library should work closely with the borrowing library to comply.

V.    Special Loans

  1. The borrowing library will put "VIVA SPECIAL LOAN" in the "Borrowing Note" field of the OCLC ILL workform for the following special loans. Lenders making special loans may place restrictions they deem necessary on those loans to protect the item or to minimize its unavailability to its own users. Restrictions may include "in-library use only," and loan periods of as little as 5 days. Borrowers of special items must closely follow all restrictions placed by the lending library.
  2. All VIVA libraries are encouraged to be as generous and responsive as possible in lending recently acquired material such as new books.
  3. Entire journal issues or bound journal issues may be loaned for purposes including replacing lost issues, serving a customer who needs an entire issue devoted to a particular theme, or making an appropriate digitization of graphic material from a journal.
  4. Microforms may be loaned whenever it is not possible for the lender to make a microform duplicate. Generally, no more than 5 reels of microfilm will be loaned at one time to an individual customer.
  5. Audiovisual materials may be loaned in accordance with the American Library Association Video Round Table, "Guidelines for the Interlibrary Loan of Audiovisual Formats" (1998,
  6. Rare and unique materials may, on an item-by-item basis, be loaned in accordance with the Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL), "ACRL/RBMS Guidelines For Interlibrary And Exhibition Loan Of Special Collections Materials" (2012, The loan of rare and unique materials rests on the broad inter-institutional commitment that defines VIVA. This inter-institutional commitment makes it possible for the loans of most materials to be processed between the ILL staffs of the institutions. However, loans of rare and unique materials will often require direct communications among ILL staffs, curatorial staffs, and even customers. Curatorial staffs at the lending institutions will decide if a loan is possible, and, if it is, the details of the loan including format (original, microform, photocopy, or digital), and conditions of use. Because these transactions are more complicated and often more expensive than other loan transactions, delivery might often take longer than 48 hours, and special fees, including processing, appraisal, and shipping fees, might be assessed.

Basic assumptions underlying the ACRL guidelines and this VIVA guideline include:

  1. Inter-institutional loan from special collections for research use must be conducted in a manner that ensures responsible care and effectively safeguards items from loss or damage.
  2. The decision to lend an item rests with the Special Collections Department responsible for that item. Such decisions reflect an item-by-item consideration rather than broad categorical responses.
  3. It is not expected that items of significant rarity or monetary value, or items in fragile condition will normally be lent.
  4. Because rare and unique materials must be used in a controlled environment, a borrowing institution must provide appropriate conditions for the housing and use of such materials.


Last Revision: November 13, 2013
Approved by the VIVA Resource Sharing Committee November 13, 2013
Approved by VIVA Steering Committee:  December 3, 2013
Approved by SCHEV Library Advisory Committee:  December 4, 2013