Interlibrary Loan (ILL)

The term interlibrary loan (ILL) encompasses both borrowing and lending of materials and reproductions. The purpose of interlibrary loan is to borrow or obtain copies of library materials not available in the St. Mary’s County Library system.

The methods available for ILL are as follows:
COSMOS (Collections of Southern Maryland Online System) TRI‐COUNTY LOAN: A tri‐county on‐line catalog incorporating the holdings of the Calvert, Charles, and St. Mary’s County public libraries and some school libraries in these same counties. Customers may request any material listed in COSMOS, which are not on the shelf at their local library branch, by placing a hold on the desired materials. Customers can place holds themselves from the catalog at the library or from a remote connection ( A valid library card and PIN are required. For assistance in placing a hold, check with a librarian. Some items, such as recent publications in heavy demand and certain formats, may be unavailable for loan.

  • Restrictions: The number of requests a customer can have at any one time is limited to 25.
  • Status: Items listed as “Available” usually arrive within 3 to 5 business days. Customers should request help from a librarian when any other status, such as “Checked out,” “In Transit,” or “Hold” is listed, or when a shorter deadline is needed. Requests can be canceled at any time.
  • Notification: Customers will be notified when an item is received for pick‐up. Items will be held for 5 days following the date of notification. If not picked up or cancelled, the item will be removed from the Hold Shelf and a $0.50 fine, per item, will be charged.

MARINA: The state‐wide interlibrary loan service which allows customers to request items from public libraries outside of Southern Maryland. This is available from the library’s website.

ILL: If an item is not available at any of the above libraries, any registered borrower with a valid St. Mary’s County Library card can arrange an interlibrary loan. Customer should see the librarian to begin the process. Materials that may be borrowed include specific items that are not in the St. Mary’s County Library collection. Most libraries will not lend recent titles in heavy demand, such as best sellers; or certain other valuable or fragile items, such as reference materials, genealogy materials, full magazine issues, audio‐ and videotapes, and musical recordings. Limitations, in general, are those of the American Library Association National Interlibrary Loan Code and the Maryland Interlibrary Loan Organization (MILO) Maryland State and Regional Library Network Policies/Procedures. Lending libraries determine whether requested materials will be provided, and any restrictions on loaned materials, such as “For In‐Library Use Only” or “No Photocopying.”

  • Picking‐up material: Library staff will notify the customer when the ordered items have arrived. The material will be held at the Library for pick‐up for 5 days from the notification date. The Due Date is set by the lending library. It is best to pick up the material as quickly as possible, after being notified, to take advantage of the maximum length of time allowed by the loaning library. If the item is not picked up by the due date, the item will be removed and a $0.50 fine will be charged to the customer.
  • Renewals: Renewals are at the discretion of the lending library. The lending library may recall materials at any time. Any fees charged by the lending library for materials kept overdue will be added to the borrower’s library card account.
  • Notification: If the library receives a status report that the requested material is not available for loan, the customer will be notified. The customer is encouraged to call the library at any time to follow up on a request.