The MnLINK Gateway (www.mnlinkgateway.org) is your portal to a rich collection of resources. With a valid library card, you can request materials from participating libraries in Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Wisconsin. Thousands of people now enjoy the benefits of interlibrary loan, but many may not understand how this service works. Let's address some of the questions that have been submitted to ECRL staff:
"I can't log in. Is something wrong with MnLINK?"
The database may be down for maintenance or experiencing a temporary technical problem. Try again later or ask library staff for assistance. Your library card must be current and valid. Library staff can help you resolve card or registration problems.
"Can I request materials that are owned here?"
We do not interlibrary loan materials that are in the ECRL collection. Instead, you should check Evergreen (the ECRL catalog) and place holds on materials there. There is a link to Evergreen on our homepage (www.ecrlib.org).
"Why wasn't my MnLINK request filled?"
Most popular materials (bestsellers, DVDs) are in constant demand with long waiting lists. Other items may be lost, damaged, or non-circulating. If an item is unavailable, for whatever reason, your request will not be filled. It's best to wait a week or so before placing another one (libraries are not required to fill requests for their materials). ECRL staff are happy to accept suggestions -- if we don't own an item that you're interested in, we may purchase it for the ECRL collection!
"How many items can I request through MnLINK?"
You can have 20 active (pending or received) requests at any one time.
"I tried to request an item through MnLINK and received a strange message. Why didn't my request go through?"
You may be at your 20-item limit, there may be a problem with your library card, or your fines may exceed $5.00. Please contact library staff for assistance.
"Can I request materials from libraries in other states?"
Yes! Materials in many North Dakota, South Dakota, and Wisconsin libraries can be requested through MnLINK. You must login and change the "Current Profile" field to "ELM - Worldcat (shared)" for access to these library collections. Some libraries, archives, and historical societies do not participate in MnLINK. Contact ECRL staff for access to collections at the state historical societies in North and South Dakota, for example.
"What happens if I damage or lose an interlibrary loan item?"
Accidents happen, of course, but you are responsible for returning materials by the due date and in the condition in which they were sent. If an item is lost or damaged, the lending library will send us a bill; that amount (no more, no less) is then placed on your ECRL library card. The amount can be significant, depending on the item and the lending library's policies.
"What materials are available through interlibrary loan?
Books, DVDs, music CDs, videos, audiobooks, microfilm, photocopies, magazine articles, maps, and (limited) reference material. At present, eBook and eAudio materials cannot be requested through interlibrary loan. ECRL has a growing collection of eBook and eAudio titles; you'll find links on our homepage (www.ecrlib.org). And we welcome your suggestions!
Reference and Interlibrary Loan Librarian