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Delivery Guidelines

General Delivery Guidelines

updated Nov. 22, 2023

For quick and efficient interlibrary delivery service that keeps both library items and library and IHLS Delivery staff safe, IHLS libraries are asked to abide by the following Delivery Guidelines:


Items Eligible for IHLS Delivery

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.

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.

Delivery must be used for the transport of requested library items only. For more information, please refer to the Illinois Secretary of State memorandum "Delivery of Library Materials."


Contactless Delivery Exchange Points

As of April 13, 2021, IHLS will no longer quarantine items within IHLS hubs or require libraries to do so. Additionally, IHLS will no longer date tubs. However, IHLS will continue to pick up and drop off items to your library’s pre-arranged contactless exchange point. It is still important that IHLS delivery staff remain out of contact with library staff and out of the library as much as possible. Please continue to place tubs in the pre-arranged contactless exchange point.


Transit Labels

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

  • 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.
  • Use only official transit labels. These can be found on this page of the IHLS website
  • 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.).
  • Hub Code fields are required. 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.
  • 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
  • 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 

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



Delivery Tubs/Containers

Items will be delivered in a variety of containers, with 10-gallon tubs and nylon tote bags being the most common. When your library staff pack tubs/containers with library materials, please follow the following tub/container guidelines:

  • 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.
  • Tubs and other containers should be filled only as much as they can be properly closed. 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.
  • Loaded containers must weigh no more than 40 lbs (for the safety of Delivery staff).
  • 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).
  • IHLS and ILDS tubs/containers are to be used for transport of library items only. Tubs/containers are the property of IHLS.


On Demand/On Call Accounts

If your library is an on-demand/on-call delivery stop, you will receive a stop on your designated day only when we have items to bring to you.

When you have items for next-day pickup, please contact your Delivery Hub Manager.

If you have any questions or concerns regarding these guidelines, please contact your Delivery Hub Manager directly. Delivery drivers are not equipped or authorized to answer specific questions regarding the delivery guidelines.