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Delivery Guidelines

IHLS Delivery

The IHLS General Delivery Guidelines were last updated June 6, 2024. Print This Document


For quick and efficient interlibrary delivery service that keeps both library items and library and IHLS Delivery staff safe, the IHLS Delivery Guidelines are developed to align with Illinois Library System Act – Standards for Core Services to Members (23 Ill. Admin. Code 3030.215), ILLINET Interlibrary Loan Code (23 Ill. Adm. Code 3030. Appendix A), and Delivery of Library Materials Memorandum. Failure to comply with all delivery guidelines can result in suspension of delivery service.


In This Section:
  1. Items Eligible for IHLS Delivery
  2. Contactless Delivery Exchange Points
  3. Items for Delivery via SHARE Consortium
  4. Transit Labels for Standalone and ILDS Libraries
  5. Delivery Tubs/Containers
  6. Community Delivery Partnerships
  7. Unidentified Items
  8. Delivery to System Members
  9. Items Lost or Damaged in Transit

1. Items Eligible for IHLS Delivery

  1. Only materials that fit the following descriptions are eligible for transport through library system delivery:
    1. Library materials that are classified, cataloged, and available for loan.
    2. Items sent out from the Illinois State Library, the Illinois Secretary of State, or a library system.
  2. The following item types are not eligible for transport through library system delivery:
    1. Items that are individually addressed and can be mailed via the U.S. Postal Service.
    2. Library newsletters which may be mailed, exchanged at networking group meetings, or obtained online.
    3. Bulk items intended for distribution to the public.
    4. Delivery must be used for the transport of requested library items only.
    5. For more information, please refer to the Illinois Secretary of State memorandum "Delivery of Library Materials."

2. Contactless Delivery Exchange Points

  1. IHLS will pick up and drop off items at a library’s pre-arranged contactless exchange point. 

3. Items for Delivery via SHARE Consortium

  1. Outside Barcode Placement: All items should have an external barcode visibly placed on the exterior of the item. The preferred placement is horizontally in the front-top-left corner of the item.
  2. ISBN Barcode Consideration: It is recommended the ISBN barcode on any item should not be obscured or covered.
The following additional guidelines will go into effect after the installation of IHLS's three automated material-handling system machines:
3. Transit Label Exemption: Items sent through IHLS delivery within the SHARE consortium are exempt from requiring a transit label.
4. Rubber Bands Consideration: It is recommended to eliminate the use of rubber bands on any items intended for IHLS delivery. 

4. Transit Labels for Standalone and ILDS Libraries

  1. IHLS Delivery sorters and drivers rely on the accuracy of transit labels to get items to their intended recipients. Please adhere to the following transit label guidelines for all IHLS Delivery transit.

Placement of Labels

  1. Do not insert labels inside books. With the high volume of books going through IHLS Delivery, putting labels inside books creates a risk of lost labels during sorting.
  2. Use only official transit labels. These can be found on this page of the IHLS website
  3. To and From fields with full library names are required. The To [Library Full Name] is the most important to the IHLS delivery staff and should contain the full name of the library to which the item is being sent. Full names are important, as many libraries have similar names (i.e., Mississippi Valley Library District – Collinsville, Mississippi Valley Library District – Fairmont, etc.).
  4. Hub code fields are required. The hub code is critical to getting the item to the right geographic region as quickly as possible. To find a hub code, use the SHARE Library Codes list or the L2 Member Directory.
  5. To avoid damage to books, use removable tape to fasten labels on items. If your library does not have removable tape, it is acceptable to tape your label to a rubber band around the item
  6. Do not reuse transit labels. Do not cross out or double-highlight/circle items on transit labels—use a new transit label.

Specific Types of Transit Labels

  1. All items must have a completed transit label attached to the front of the item(s) or Delivery on the Go service bag, including packaging/envelopes. Please use only the correct and approved transit label. In case of missing or incomplete labels, the item will be returned to the owning library.


Transit to Another IHLS-Member Library

Download IHLS transit label

IHLS Member-to-Member delivery transit slip sample. Deliver to: Champaign CUSD #4, Barkstall Elementary School, IHLS hub code: ZCH is circled. Title: Zoey & Sassafras - Dragons and Marshmallows. Date: 11/2/2023.

Same-Day Transit to a Down-Route IHLS Library (IHLS Delivery On the Go)
  • IHLS members that are specifically sending items to a library further along the same IHLS Delivery route can use an orange Delivery On the Go bag. Spaces for transit information are printed directly on the bag.
  • Please use a fine-tip or large dark-color permanent marker to write the transit information on the bag.
  • If you need orange Delivery On the Go bags, please contact your IHLS service hub's delivery manager/coordinator.

Learn More About Delivery on the Go


Transit to a RAILS or CPL library or to the CMC
  • Materials going to the Cataloging Maintenance Center (CMC), Reaching Across Illinois Library System libraries (RAILS libraries), or Chicago Public Library (CPL), require this paper routing label.
  • Always circle or highlight one destination code.
  • When sending materials to the Cataloging Maintenance Center, write “CMC” in the To field.
  • To find RAILS hub codes, use the L2 Member Directory.

Download a Paper Routing Label



Special Note for ILDS Members

The Illinois Library Delivery Service (ILDS) is a courier service that transports library materials between participating Illinois academic and research libraries to support interlibrary resource sharing in the state of Illinois. IHLS members who are members of CARLI and participate in ILDS primarily use ILDS delivery services instead of IHLS delivery services. These members should use the following labels:

Transit from an ILDS member to another ILDS member
  • ILDS libraries must be using the online label system to create labels when sending items to other ILDS locations. 

Generate an ILDS Routing Label

Transit from ILDS Members to non-ILDS members

Download a Paper Routing Label

Generate an ILDS Routing Label

Transit to Out-of-State Libraries

Illinois Heartland Library System does not deliver to out-of-state libraries. 

View other options


5. Delivery Tubs/Containers

  1. Items will be delivered in a variety of containers, with 9-gallon tubs and nylon tote bags being the most common. When your library staff pack tubs/containers with library materials, please follow the tub/container guidelines:
    1. All containers, empty or full (and with closed lids, where applicable), should be placed at your library’s designated delivery exchange point on your library’s designated delivery days.
    2. Tubs and other containers should be filled to the tub fill lines, abiding by proper weight limitations for the safety of all. When packing multiple tubs try to evenly distribute the weight. Improper filling of tubs and improper closing of lids may result in weather damage to items. IHLS is not responsible for damage to your library’s items due to improper packing by library staff.
    3. Loaded containers must weigh no more than 40 pounds, with a recommended weight limit of 35 pounds. Should the tubs exceed the weight limit, drivers have the authority to decline collection. 
    4. If you need additional tubs/containers, your library can request them as needed by contacting your Delivery Hub Manager the day before your scheduled delivery. Alternatively, you may send items in a sturdy box or other sturdy container. If you want the box/container back, please place a “property of” note on the container (either directly on the container or on a note attached to the container).
    5. IHLS and ILDS tubs/containers are to be used for transport of library items only. Tubs/containers are the property of IHLS.

6. Community Delivery Partnerships

  1. A Community Delivery Partnership (CDP) is an agreement between libraries to have all interlibrary loan items delivered to a single location. For example, a school district and a public library in the same town may enter into a CDP for the public library to serve as the system delivery location for the schools. Thus, the school district receives indirect delivery from IHLS through the public library.
  2. Both the delivery-site library and CDP partner library have responsibilities. The delivery location will accept incoming materials for all participants and provide staff to separate items for pick up by the other libraries, notify partner libraries when they have materials to pick up, and prepare materials to go out on delivery from all participants. Partner libraries will pick up items from the primary delivery library on an agreed-upon schedule or when notified that materials are waiting, as well as drop off items to be sent.
  3. For more information about CDPs, including detailed requirements and an agreement template, see the Illinois State Library's CDP page.

7. Unidentified Items

  1. Items sent through IHLS delivery with no delivery labels or markings to identify an owning library will be posted on the IHLS website section for unidentified items. If items are not claimed after six months, the materials will be donated. 

8. Delivery to System Members

  1. Delivery shall be provided at no cost to full-member libraries with one delivery point per member or community drop-off point provided by the library system. Expedited, higher frequencies than the established volume levels or some specially requested form of enhanced delivery may incur a charge to the requesting member library. IHLS aims to provide equitable and consistent delivery of library materials to full-member libraries to fulfill patron requests.
  2. IHLS will provide delivery via methods including, but not limited to, library system delivery, Illinois Library Delivery Service, electronic, commercial delivery service, and U.S. Postal Service. Delivery services will be coordinated by an IHLS staff member.
  3. Each member library shall be provided with direct delivery a minimum of two times per week when it needs and requests that delivery. 
  4. Delivery points and frequency will be determined based on the functional five-day model or on-demand deliveries.  
    1. Functional five-day delivery is defined as library delivery if we have an item for your library, or you have an item for pickup. We will provide delivery as long as your library is not closed on that day or you have requested no delivery date(s). Outside of normal delivery days, we only know that you have a pickup by notifications on the help desk the day before the requested pickup. We will provide pickup on all normally scheduled delivery days.
    2. On-demand delivery is defined as library delivery only when your library has requested a pickup on the Help Desk or when we have an item for you. You will not have a specific day of the week pre-determined for your pick-up or delivery.
  5. Delivery Routes will be posted on our Delivery website. IHLS will ensure that its delivery service shall complete the schedule on a consistent and regular basis. 
  6. An annual Delivery survey will be conducted as a mechanism for an annual review of the delivery services. 
  7. IHLS delivery service interfaces with other library delivery systems through the Illinois Library Delivery Service (ILDS). ILDS is managed by the Consortium of Academic and Research Libraries in Illinois (CARLI), in cooperation with the Illinois State Library. ILDS serves CARLI Governing members, the Illinois regional library systems, and the Chicago Public Library in order to provide for the transfer of materials between and among ILDS and the regional library systems' delivery services. IHLS will utilize statewide uniform statistical data-gathering methods.

9.  Items Lost or Damaged in Transit

  1. If damage or loss occurs, the requesting library is responsible for compensation in accordance with the policy of the supplying library. IHLS recognizes that there are cases where the damage/loss occurs within our delivery system. For those items, we will reimburse the library in accordance with the policy of the supplying library.
  2. Library Responsibilities After 30 Days of Missing
    1. Contact the receiving library to verify the item is not on their shelf.
    2. Check your own shelf to verify the item is not there.
    3. Initiate an IHLS Delivery Help Desk Ticket by selecting "Lost or Damaged Item." Please give details such as when the item was put into delivery, the destination library name, if the destination library received it, and if applicable, the date the item was sent back through delivery. These details will help us to investigate. An IHLS employee will contact you if they need any further information and/or have instructions on the next step.
  3. IHLS Responsibilities
    1. Promptly respond to the library regarding the lost item with any request for further information.
    2. If the lost item is determined to be lost within IHLS delivery, we will request the library to submit an invoice to us. We also will look to see if we are able to replace the item at a lower cost and will offer that option to the library. The library has the final say as to whether they want the item replaced or would like reimbursement by check.
    3. If there is no clear-cut resolution, IHLS will work with the library to resolve the issue with a mutually acknowledged solution.
    4. IHLS appreciates that our members seek reimbursement infrequently, and only when necessary. IHLS recognizes our responsibility to be a good partner in the resource-sharing process.