Interlibrary Loan/Resource Sharing is a transaction between two libraries to lend materials to each other on a short-term basis. Librarians and staff conduct ILL/RS on behalf of faculty, students, staff, as well as other patrons, depending on the type of library involved in resource sharing.
Conditions for interlibrary loans are set by the National Interlibrary Loan Code of the American Library Association and by individual libraries. It is the prerogative of the lending library to set the loan period, refuse to lend materials, withhold permission to photocopy, and/or restrict materials to library use. As the borrowing library, one must adhere to all rules and restrictions of the lending library.
Many library resource sharing activities are guided, limited, and even made possible by federal laws – particularly those related to copyright and copyright exemptions. Core guidelines commonly adhered to in resource-sharing practices have grown out of these laws. Licenses and licensing agreements between libraries and library consortia and vendors supersede law, and should be familiar to resource sharing librarians. Knowledge of current laws and guidelines governing resource sharing can help librarians provide compliant, standardized services that enhance performance in their library's roles as both borrower and lender.