The Guide to SMLD Interlibrary Loan

Searching & Requesting Subject Requests Shipping Lost or Damaged Items

Any member library in the Southern Maine Library District may request books, movies, music and photocopies from the Portland Public Library. But it doesn’t end there! If we don’t have what you need, we’ll search libraries nationwide to find it using WorldCat, OCLC’s vast worldwide catalog of library holdings.

Things to keep in mind when making SMLD ILL requests:

  • You may request items directly from the PPL catalog for fastest service.
  • To set appropriate expectations with your patrons, let them know that new titles and AV materials are often difficult to procure, and that each potential WorldCat lender gets four business days to respond to our request, so a search might take several weeks.
  • As of September 2013, most libraries are not lending electronic resources (e-books, e-serials, or other digital content) via interlibrary loan because of licensing restrictions.
  • Keep a close eye on your PPL and Clio accounts, and notify the ILL office at 871-1735 if anything seems odd.
  • To keep up with news about SMLD ILL and Clio, consider subscribing to SMLD-L, an informative, low-traffic discussion list specifically for SMLD libraries.
  • Mamie Ney, the former SMLD District Consultant, has created a request form template that you can use for gathering information from your patrons about their ILL requests. Download the SMLD.Patron ILL Request Form Template


Searching & Requesting

Start with the PPL Catalog

You may request PPL materials directly from our catalog instead of filling out a request form. If you have several searches to do, you can save time by logging into your PPL account before you start searching.

  1. Log in to My PPL.
  2. Search the PPL catalog by using the search field at the top of the screen.
  3. If item is not located in our catalog, you may request it via Clio (see instructions below).
  4. If title is found, select the desired item by clicking on the Request button. If you do not see a Request button (either at the top of the page or just below the title field), look closely at the item record. Can you see which branch of the library owns this work? If no branches are listed, our copy is most likely long overdue or missing, and thus should be ordered via Clio instead. Contact the ILL office if you are not sure. Upcoming release titles on order can be reserved from the PPL catalog.
  5. Choose “SMLD ILL – Library Use Only” as your pickup location. This will help us route your materials through the ILL office for proper handling.

The request will now be visible on your PPL patron account for online monitoring and renewals.  To see all of your holds, click on the button labeled “View My Holds.” We will pull the item and send it to you.

If you do not find what you need in our catalog, please fill out a request form in Clio so that we can ask WorldCat (OCLC) lenders on your behalf. We always ask Maine OCLC lenders first when possible. If you do not wish for us to search outside of Maine, please note that in the comment field of the form.

Requesting Books, AV and Photocopies via Clio

SMLD ILL now uses Clio, a web-based tool for managing WorldCat (OCLC) ILL transactions. Clio gives SMLD libraries 24/7 access to your WorldCat ILL requests and allows you to receive, renew and return ILL materials online.

Best practices for using Clio:

  • Provide accurate, verified citations, preferably with the OCLC record number from WorldCat. If you can not provide an OCLC record number, please provide an ISBN.
  • Copy and paste OCLC record numbers and ISBN numbers instead of typing them.
  • Use the right request form (print, AV, or photocopy).
  • One title/volume per request.
  • If you specify “This edition only,” please be sure that you have filled in the Edition field.
  •  Update your transactions promptly.
  • When updating to received, always use “Received-Loan” unless you are receiving a photocopy.
  •  It is the responsibility of the requesting library to be aware of, and to abide by, the copyright laws. You must indicate your level of copyright compliance when you place a photocopy request or we will be unable to process it.
Log in to Clio

To get started with Clio, click on the box at left.

If you are using Clio for the first time, you can create an account with the link on the login page. If you already have a Clio account, log in using your 14 digit PPL barcode.

Call the ILL office at 871-1735 if questions arise.

Placing Subject Requests


As your ARRC, Portland Public Library provides backup reference service to all of our member libraries. Our reference librarians are pleased to locate resources on a particular topic for you and your patrons. Please be as specific as possible when making a subject request.


Mailing Costs

Mailing costs are shared by the borrower and the lender. The lender will pay for shipping to the borrowing library. The borrowing library pays for return postage and, when necessary, insurance. All Maine OCLC lenders use the statewide delivery system (Bangor Public Library, Maine State Library, and the colleges and universities).

Mailing Labels

If your library does not participate in the statewide delivery service, please send us a supply of 3×5 mailing labels with your library’s name and address in the “ship to” section, or a stamp imprinted with that information.

If your library participates in the statewide delivery service, please use the labels provided on the Maine State Library’s web site.

Mis-Directed Shipments

Because we have an unusual arrangement as an ARRC, many lending libraries are easily confused by our shipping instructions. For this reason, our member libraries frequently find that they have received materials intended for another library. This can be an expensive inconvenience, especially for libraries that are not on the delivery circuit. Your colleagues appreciate your willingness to forward the errant item to the correct destination, or to send it back to PPL for re-routing. Please call our office if the correct mailing address is not evident.

Managing Your Transactions

Materials from the Portland Public library collection are checked out for a 3 week loan period. You may renew for another 3 week term unless other reserves exist for that title. In that case, you may call our office and ask us to put you back on the waiting list for it.,/p>

It is the responsibility of each SMLD library to monitor your PPL account and make sure that you are returning materials promptly. We will send courtesy notices before the item is due and overdue notices and bills at set intervals after the due date. If you do not renew or return an item and your account is billed, you will no longer be able to request items from the PPL catalog until it the fine is resolved. It pays to pay attention to your due dates, especially if you only get delivery once a week or certain patrons are habitually lax about returning things on time.

To manage your renewals, please log in to your PPL account online. Enter your library name and 14-digit bar code to access your account.

If your library incurs a replacement fine for a long overdue book, you will be unable to reserve or renew PPL materials until the matter is resolved. Please read more about our policies regarding lost and damaged materials below.

Materials borrowed from OCLC lenders may be renewed at the discretion of the lending institution. Please use Clio to receive, renew and return materials.

Lost or Damaged Materials

By making an interlibrary loan request, the borrowing library agrees to act in good faith to return loans in a timely manner in good condition, and to accept financial responsibility for the materials that are lost or damaged on your watch. Lending libraries (including Portland Public Library) reserve the right to bill your institution for materials that are damaged, lost in the mail, or never returned.

If your patron loses or damages a Portland Public Library book, your library will be charged a replacement fee that includes a $10 processing fee. You may pay online with a credit card or send us a check. If your patron wishes to provide a replacement copy of the lost book, the replacement must meet the following criteria:

  1. The replacement must have the same ISBN as the lost/damaged item.
  2. The replacement item must be brand new.
  3. The $10 processing fee must be paid.

If you pay the replacement fee for a lost book that is eventually found and returned, we will refund your money less the $10 processing fee.

In all cases, please send all questions, payments, replacements, and found materials to the attention of Beth Wulleman in the ILL office.

Items borrowed via OCLC that are lost or damaged by your patrons are subject to the billing policies of the lending library. Not all lenders will accept replacement copies, so please call our office before you or your patron purchases a replacement.

Contact Us

Eileen and Beth are available to answer questions and solve mysteries from 8am to 4pm, Monday through Friday, at (207) 871-1700, ext. 735.