Return of inter-library lending

Monday 17 April 2023

A cartoon image of two libraries passing a book between themselves by hand 

We are pleased to announce inter-library lending will resume from Monday, 1 May 2023.
This includes items from participating Libraries Victoria services and academic/specialist libraries across Victoria. 

We have been working with the peak body for public libraries in Victoria (Public Libraries Victoria) to resume this much-valued service since was suspended across the state last year with a solution that balances the rising costs of logistics, courier and other operational services.

Some changes have been made to ensure this service can operate sustainably into the future:

  • In order to reduce environmental and logistical costs, deliveries between library services will now occur weekly.
    Consolidating materials and moving them more efficiently allows us to continue offering the widest range of resources for our members. This may lead to a slightly longer wait, but ensures we are able to keep the service as low-cost as possible
  • Some items on the catalogue can no longer be requested if they belong to another library service.
    This includes board books, picture books, music CDs and magazines. All LOTE items (except for magazines) are exempt from this change.
  • A limit of 20 holds (requests) will apply at any time.
    We understand this service is invaluable for many members and to ensure we can keep offering this option we must ensure it is used appropriately. Moving books involves carbon miles and costs for both library services involved. It’s up to all of us to ensure we responsibly use this service.
  • New release titles may not be available via inter-library lending.
    If the new item you’re looking for isn’t in our catalogue, please ask us to purchase a copy on your behalf.

What are the factors that have led to these changes?

It is an unfortunate reality that increasing costs have impacted many aspects of this service, and sharing items between libraries is one of the most resource-heavy services that libraries provide.

We have worked with other Victorian public libraries participating in the program to identify ways to reduce the costs of delivering inter-library loans, streamline services and identify the most cost-effective methods of moving items across the state. This solution ensures all libraries receive an equitable service.

Weighing the needs of our members, and our responsibility to provide the best value service to our community, it is our belief that a restructured service is preferable to the permanent suspension of this valuable service.

How you can help

  • Please collect your inter-library loans when ordered, or cancel if they are no longer required.
    Uncollected items account for more than 10% of Public Libraries Victoria's costs.
  • Please endeavour to return items to the library you borrowed them from; this can help reduce transportation costs.
  • If you have multiple library memberships, check what conditions apply as they may vary from service to service.

For further information on changes to the service, please speak to a library team member or contact us.


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