District Loans

The Capital Area Library District aims to make it easy to share items between all libraries in our district. It especially seeks to ensure that district libraries have good access to the District Library Center collections of the Dauphin County Library System.

A district loan occurs when a library borrows an item from another library. Currently, all district libraries can self-mediate district loans using a barcode and PIN number to access items in the collections of:

  • Dauphin County Library System¬† (State Aid to District Library Centers is used to supplement the collection, try this catalog first.)
  • Cumberland County Library System
  • Middletown Public Library
  • Hershey Public Library
  • Bloomfield Public Library
  • Newport Public Library

What is a District Loan?

A district loan occurs when a library in our district requests to borrow an item from another library in the district (that is not in the same automation system) through a self-mediated online process.
District Loans should be counted as Interlibrary Loans for statistical purposes for the annual report, but are NOT processed through the ILL department at ESA.

Examples: FRE borrows an item from ESA or MOM borrows an item from HER.

How Does My Library Process a District Loan?

When a patron wants an item that is not owned by your library, the patron fills out a request form and submits it to library staff.

Step 1: Library staff verify the title and request information using local processes. This step allows the library to investigate the best method of acquiring the item for a patron. Note: Check the copyright date of the item: If it is a newer title, please determine if your location should purchase a copy.

Step 2: Library staff look in the catalogs of the other larger systems in the district. If the item is available in another district catalog and is an item type they lend, the library places a self-mediated district loan request using local barcode and PIN number. Note: If the item is not currently available on the shelves of the library, has a long list of patrons who have already requested the item, you may want to reconsider the item for local purchase or inform the patron that there may be an extended waiting period. Requests for District Loans are not filled until after local library patron requests are filled due to Priority Order. At this time, CCLS, DCLS and HER have all implemented a priority order.

Example of Priority Order: If a real person with a library card uses the online catalog to request a popular item with other holds, the person’s request will always be filled before the library’s request for District Loan is filled. Priority order in the circulation system means that requests placed by libraries will be a lower priority than requests placed by local library users.

Placing a District Loan Request:

Your library location has a barcode and a PIN that works in the online catalog. Place the district loan request in the catalog of the library using the barcode and PIN assigned to your location as though you were a regular library patron. The item will be sent to your library when it is available.

Keep your District Loan Account Up to Date:

Just as libraries expect patrons to keep their borrowing account clear and up to date, someone from your location should be assigned responsibility for your library’s district account. Please check it periodically to make sure that requested items are received and that the account accurately reflects what your library has borrowed. If you notice discrepancies, items unreturned, fines or fees, please contact the library to resolve disputes about the account locally. You are typically not billed for late fines by district libraries, but will be asked to pay replacement costs for items that are lost while on loan to your library.

Other Notes on District Loans:

  • Dauphin County Library System uses state aid as a District Library Center to supplement the collection, so it is recommended that all libraries attempt district loan from DCLS first.
  • CCLS Libraries do not typically loan DVDs outside their system.