Interlibrary Loan

What is interlibrary loan?

Interlibrary Loan is a service we offer to card holders of the Portsmouth Public Library. If there is an item (book, DVD, audiobook, etc.) that we don’t have in our collection, we can try to borrow it from another library in the state. Items can also be borrowed from NH college libraries (Dartmouth, UNH, etc.) Items published in the last 6 months cannot be borrowed via interlibrary loan.


Click here for our ILL request form


Click here to request an item directly through the State's online system

If you haven't used the online system, instructions are below.


What types of items can I borrow through ILL?

  • Books
  • Books and music on audio tape and CD
  • DVDs
  • Articles from magazines or journals


What can't be borrowed through ILL?

  • New items published in the last 6 months
  • Reference materials
  • Full magazines and newspapers
  • Video games
  • Materials that are already in our collection, unless missing or very overdue


How long does it take to get the item?

It depends. If the item is available in-state we might get it inside of a week. Rarer items that are farther away take longer.


Are there any fees involved?

If you are willing to pay a $15 flat fee for shipping, we can request the book from out-of-state libraries. If the cost is over the $15 amount, we will contact you to verify if you are willing to pay more. If you do not select the option to pay a shipping fee, we will only search in-state which does not require payment of any kind.


How many items may you request at a time?

Five items per week.


How do you use the online system to submit an ILL request?

  1. Visit
  2. Login (Select Portsmouth Public Library from the drop down menu, enter your library card number and password, and click Submit).
  3. Search for an item, click on the cover of the item you would like, then click Request this item on the left. Although all items allow you to click the Request button, some items cannot be borrowed via ILL, such as books published within the last 6 months.
  4. Verify your contact information and click Submit.
  5. Your request will be submitted to a lending library and we will notify you when it arrives. You can track the progress of the loan in Your Account.

To learn more about how to place a request, please watch this video tutorial, Patron Initiated ILL Requests, or visit the library to have a staff member assist you.


How can I get multiple copies of a book for a book club?

Reads to Go is a service provided by READS, the reference and adult services section of the New Hampshire Library Association (NHLA). Reads to Go offers book club kits that you can borrow through interlibrary loan from New Hampshire libraries. Each kit contains: 15 books, 1 discussion guide, 1 sign-out sheet, and one brochure. Portsmouth Public Library card holders can utilize this service and borrow a kit. The person checking out the book club kit is responsible for returning all the items in the kit and may borrow the kit for six weeks. For a list of available titles visit the Reads-to-Go website, then contact the Library and we will arrange for you to borrow the kit through the Interlibrary Loan service. Our Library may borrow up to two kits at a time.


Contact us through our online form, or call the Reference desk at 766-1720.