March 17, 2020

NH State Library suspends statewide Inter-library Loan service due to COVID-19

The Department of Natural and Cultural Resources released this announcement today:

Due to the current State of Emergency directives in New Hampshire regarding COVID-19 and current Center for Disease Control recommendations regarding behaviors to stop the spread of COVID-19, the New Hampshire State Library will suspend its statewide inter-library loan operations beginning on March 18, with a projected end date of April 3.

Inter-library loan allows patrons to borrow items that may not be part of their own library’s collection but are available from another library in New Hampshire. The State Library coordinates this service; more than 500,000 items are delivered through inter-library loan in New Hampshire each year.

Van deliveries from the State Library to participating libraries throughout New Hampshire will cease during this time, and all online Inter-library Loan activities will be shut down as well.

Interrupting this service is an important step to minimize the spread of COVID-19 and reflects the current closed status of the many libraries across the state.

The State Library will re-evaluate the COVID-19 situation by April 3 to assess whether an extension of the inter-library loan service suspension is warranted at that time.

Part of the N.H. Department of Natural and Cultural Resources, the N.H. State Library promotes excellence in libraries and library services to all New Hampshire residents, by assisting libraries and the people of New Hampshire with rapid access to library and informational resources through the development and coordination of a statewide library/information system; by meeting the informational needs of New Hampshire’s state, county and municipal governments and its libraries; and by serving as a resource for New Hampshire. For more information, visit

Before the end of the day today NHAIS Services will take the following steps to implement this decision:
  • All libraries in the system will be set "on vacation" from today until 4/5/20 (4/3 is a Friday, so lenders will be reactivated at the end of the day on Sunday ready for Monday morning).  If a library notified us that they will not do ILL until a date after 4/5 then the date they provided will be the date they will resume as a lender.
  • Libraries that have set up patron-initiated ILL in the system will have the "request this" button removed from their interface for logged-in patrons. (It will still display for staff). 
  • The front page of the system will be updated (this may take a day or two to get out to all library interfaces) to explain that the system is shut down.
Here is what YOU should do as a library in the ILL system:
  • Leave all your transactions exactly where they are. Don't request renewals, return things, ship things, etc. Over the next few weeks NHAIS Services staff will be issuing guidance (in the form of blog posts) about where various kinds of transactions will end up by April 3 and how to deal with them at that point to get back to business. So many libraries are closed that the chances are good that whoever is the partner in your transaction isn't there to respond. 
  • Whatever is in your outgoing van bin should just be left there untouched until van service resumes. If you must take your own materials out of your bin that were already "shipped" in the ILL system there will be a post on the blog tomorrow about how to clear that in the system.
Note that materials currently in bins here at the NHSL will remain here, untouched until service resumes at which point they will be delivered as addressed.

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