All the books: the minor miracle of interlibrary loan

We pride ourselves on having an extensive collection of books, audiobooks, and movies for all ages at the Princeton Public Library. However, it is an unfortunate bit of reality that we (or any other library) cannot own everything ever published. Only a tiny fraction of the books published are in print and available for us to purchase at any moment. Also, many titles are a bit too specialized or academic for our collections or too expensive for us to acquire.

What do you do if you want to read, listen to, or view materials that the library does not own and cannot acquire? You can request we get them from another library! Most public and university libraries in the United States participate in this service known as interlibrary loan (ILL). We will search for other libraries that own the materials you want and request them for you to enjoy.

This service essentially expands our collections to include the holdings of some of the world’s greatest academic libraries and largest public libraries. We can also request articles from magazines and journals to be scanned for you. All you need to use this service is an active Princeton Public Library card.

You can request up to five items via interlibrary loan and there is a $3 fee per request to cover shipping costs if the request is successful. Please note that we cannot interlibrary loan ebooks. Once we receive the materials they will be put on hold for you to pick up on our holds shelf.

If you have any questions about this incredible service I invite you to look through our ILL FAQs or call, email, or stop by the library. If you are ready to jump right in we have a form you can fill out for new requests. I wish you the best of luck with your interlibrary loan requests.

Photo by Ying Ge on Unsplash

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