What is Interlibrary Loan?
Occasionally, our customers will want to check out books or other items that are not owned within the Lake Agassiz Regional Library system. Interlibrary Loan is a process for obtaining these books or other items from other library systems around the state. Photocopies of articles not available in LARL may also be requested. Thanks to cooperative lending agreements, Lake Agassiz Regional Library customers are able to request items from public and academic libraries all over Minnesota and have them delivered for free right to their local LARL branch or LINK Site.
Are you looking for something new?
If the item you are looking for has been published in the last 12 months, please make a suggestion for purchase (you’ll have to login to your account first). Many libraries do not loan their newest material.
MnLINK is available in the library, from home or anywhere with an internet connection at https://www.mnlinkgateway.org/. You can also access MnLINK on LARL’s Research page or by clicking the ‘Info Databases’ button on the left-hand side of this page.
When should I use Interlibrary Loan?
You should use Interlibrary Loan any time you would like to check out a book or other item that is not available from Lake Agassiz Regional Library. “Not available” means any item that:
- is not listed in the catalog, or
- is missing or long overdue
If your item is in Lake Agassiz Regional Library’s circulating collection, do not request it through Interlibrary Loan. Request it through our catalog. This is much faster for you and much easier for us. Interlibrary Loan requests placed for items owned within Lake Agassiz Regional Library system will be canceled. However, we will place your hold on the LARL item.
What do I need to sign up?
All you need is a valid LARL library card.
If you do not have a library card, it is easy to get one. Just follow these directions.
How do I begin?
Begin by opening up MnLINK in a new window, then follow these simple directions:
- Click “Login” in the navigation bar on the left hand side of the page.
- Find the barcode number on the back of your library card and type it, without any spaces, into the box marked “Library Barcode/User ID:”
- Leave the box marked “PIN/Password:” empty. You don’t need a PIN.
- Select “My Library” from the drop-down menu marked “Pickup Location.”
- Click the “Login” button.
You are now signed in to MnLINK.
You decide! Do you want to find gardening books in Spanish, esoteric cookbooks or obscure religious texts from the 13th century? Do you need articles from scholarly journals that are not available in your library? Run a search!
How do I find an item I would like to request?
You will find that searching MnLINK is similar to searching other library catalogs. There’s a Basic Search and an Advanced Search. MnLINK defaults to the Basic Search page, but either one is available from the navigation bar on the left-hand side of the page.
The Basic Search just does keywords, so type in anything you like – an author, a title, a subject – and click “Search”. MnLINK will search every library catalog in the state looking for any records that contain your keyword. Beware, this is not the most precise way of searching and you may end up with hundreds or thousands of unwanted results.
The Advanced Search is much more precise. It defaults to three boxes “Title” “Author” and “Subject Heading” plus options to limit your search by date, format, language and audience level. Until you get the hang of the Advanced Search, it’s probably best to keep it as simple as possible. You can always refine your search later if you are getting too many or too few results.
Type in a title or a title and an author. Click “Search”. Now you should just be getting results that are closer to the item you really want. Remember that MnLINK is individually searching numerous library catalogs in the state, so it may take a while for results to start appearing, and it may take several minutes for the last of the results to stop appearing. Be patient.
How do I place a request?
Once MnLINK has displayed a list of search results, look them over. This results list will display the Title, Author, Format, Publisher, Publication Date and the owning library for every item in the list. There may be many duplicates, as MnLINK will provide separate search results for each different library that owns the same item.
Once you have found an item listed that looks like what you want, click on “Details” on the right-hand side of the listing. This will bring up a new window with further information about the item. Look it over and make sure this is the item you want to request. If it is, click on “Get It!” in the upper right-hand corner of the page. A new page will come up with the same details re-displayed in another orientation. On this page, however, it is important to select an option from the drop-down menu marked “Pickup Location:”. This menu will give you the choice of any Lake Agassiz Regional Library branch or LINK Site.
Once you have selected a Pickup Location, look the request over one last time to make sure everything is correct. Then click on the “Request” button. Now you have placed your request. A confirmation number should display, this is your cue that the request has been successfully placed.
Your request will now be sent electronically to every participating library in the state that owns your requested item. They will each check their shelves to see if it is available, and if it is they will ship it to Lake Agassiz Regional Library. When it arrives, we will process it, put it on hold for you, and deliver it to your desired Pickup Location. This typically takes anywhere between one and four weeks.
If you wish to return to your list of search results, click on Search Results in the left-hand navigation bar (don’t use the browser’s Back button). Or, you can start a new search by clicking Basic Search or Advanced Search in the left-hand navigation bar. Or you can check the status of your request by clicking My Requests in the left-hand navigation bar. Or, if you are finished, click “Logout” in the right-hand navigation bar.
Always remember to “Logout” when you are finished.
There you go!
You’ve done it. You’ve placed a request in MnLINK. You’ve started your life in the exciting world of Interlibrary Loan. If you have any further questions, please visit our Interlibrary Loan FAQs page or contact the librarian at your local Lake Agassiz Regional Library branch or LINK Site.