Frequently Asked Questions about Interlibrary Loan

Is there a limit to the number of items I can request through MnLINK?

You are limited to 10 requests at any one time.

Requests count toward your limit from the time they are placed until the time they are returned to the owning library.

How will I know when my item is ready to check out?

You will be notified by email or phone when your item has been received and is ready for you to check out.

It can take from 7 to 48 days to obtain an item, depending on availability of the item, what libraries own the item, and other factors.

How will I know if my item is unavailable?

You will not be notified if your requests cannot be filled.

You can track the status of your requests by logging on to MnLINK using your library card number or you can contact the Saint Paul Public Library to ask staff to check the status for you.

How can I track my requests?

Sign in to MNLINK and click My Requests.

What does the status of my request mean?

Under Library Review: a new request and has not yet left the Saint Paul Public Library.

In Process: owning libraries are checking to see if the item is available.

Cancellation Requested: You have canceled the request. The request will remain on your record until the owning library confirms the cancellation.

In Transit: the item has been shipped to the Saint Paul Public Library.

Arrived-Your Library Will Contact You: The item has arrived at the Saint Paul Public Library. It may not yet be at your pick-up location. Please check your patron record to see if it is ready for pick-up.

Currently Unavailable Through MnLINK: This can mean that the item is checked out at every available library and is temporarily unavailable or it can mean that the item is not owned, in-library use only, or otherwise permanently unavailable. New or popular items are almost always the former; wait a few weeks and request them again. Old or esoteric items can be either. If you are unsure, please contact the library. Staff can help you determine whether or not the item is likely to be available through MnLINK at a later date. If not, you can consider placing a National Request.

Why has my request disappeared from my record?

Requests are automatically removed from patron records after having been set to status "Currently Unavailable Through MNLINK" for 30 days.

Requests are manually removed from patron records if they are for items available from within the Saint Paul Public Library.

Why have I received only Volume One of an item when the MNLINK record included several volumes?

Many libraries catalog each volume separately. If an item is cataloged by the owning library with two or more separate barcodes, they must be requested one volume at a time.

Please submit separate requests for each individual volume, with "Volume Two", "Volume Three", etc. entered in the TITLE field, after the title.

Why do I keep getting only Disc One of a multi-disc set?

Even if you have selected a MnLINK record for an entire multiple disc box set, if the set is cataloged by the owning library with two or more separate barcodes, they must be requested one disc at a time.

Please submit separate requests for each disc, with "Disc Two", "Disc Three", etc. entered in the TITLE field, after the title.

Example: "Title: The X-files, the complete first season DISC TWO"

How do I cancel a request?

You can cancel your requests by signing in to MnLINK, clicking on My Requests, finding the request you want to cancel, clicking Cancel and clicking the Cancel This Request button.

Please do not attempt to cancel requests that you have already returned.

Why can't I sign in to MnLINK?

If your card has expired, or if your card has fines in excess of $10, or if you are otherwise prevented from checking out materials from the Saint Paul Public Library, you will be unable to place requests in MnLINK.

If you have a Saint Paul Public Library card, contact the library to check your account status.

If your card was issued by a different library system, you will need to be in good standing with both the Saint Paul Public Library and with your home library system.

Why have I received a bill for $100?

If you lose an Interlibrary Loan item, or it is long enough overdue that you have received a bill, a default charge of $100 will be applied to your account. This is a placeholder and does not necessarily reflect the actual cost of the item. We won't know how much is actually owed until the library system that loaned the item to us sends us a bill. The amount of time before a bill is generated varies from library system to library system. Please do not pay for billed Interlibrary Loans until we have a chance to amend the $100 charge to reflect the actual price of the item.

Why have I received the wrong item?

Sometimes items arrive that don't match the request. Return the item you have received in error and re-submit the request. If necessary, when re-submitting the request, please amend the request data to say "4th Edition Only, Please" or other relevant information at the end of the TITLE field.

What if my search doesn't produce the desired results?

If your search fails to find a single record for the item you want, check your search criteria. If you are still unable to find what you are searching for, it may be possible that the item you are trying to request is not owned at any library within the MnLINK network. If you wish to further pursue obtaining the item, you can place a National Request.

If it is an item that you have reason to think is available through MnLINK, but is not showing up in MnLINK, you can try creating a blank request. Click Create Request on the left-hand menu. Complete the fields, providing as much information as possible to identify the item, and click SUBMIT.

How do I submit a national request?

If an item is not available through MnLINK, you may request that we try to obtain the item from libraries elsewhere in the United States. This request must be submitted in person at a Saint Paul Public Library location.

There is a $5.00  fee per national search request. The fee must be paid in advance, and is not refundable if we are unable to obtain the item.

Other Questions?

If you have any other questions, please contact library staff.