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When the COVID-19 pandemic started spreading worldwide, nearly 400,000 physical items were on loan to 5,674 libraries via the WorldShare ILL network. As libraries begin to reopen, ILL professionals need to know if, and when, to send items back to their home library. If items are mailed to libraries that are not open and not able to receive them, there is a high probability they will be lost or damaged, or libraries will incur additional fees because items are undeliverable.

At the request of the ILL community, and to support this urgent need, OCLC is providing an easy way for libraries to register and maintain their status, as well as view the status of other libraries. The Physical ILL Return and Lending Status Map contains two data points for each library:
  • Is my library or mailroom accepting physical ILL returns?
  • Is my library lending physical items via ILL?
How to participate
To signal when it is safe to mail physical items back to your library:
  • Please add your library to the crowdsourced list:
  • Update your library’s status over time by following the instructions you will receive in your confirmation email
View the status of all libraries in this spreadsheet:

COVID-19 Virus background image More COVID-19 Resources
Here at OCLC, we are committed to helping you and your library through this crisis. Check out the Reopening Archives, Libraries, and Museums Information Hub and the COVID-19 Information and Resources page for access to all our initiatives.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why isn’t my library on the Physical ILL Return and Lending Status Map?
You can add your library to this Map at:

How do I update information about my library?
You can update your original entry from the email confirmation you received when you first signed up. If you no longer have the email, please use the “Add/Update ILL Status” button at the bottom of the map results listing.

Why does the Map request access to my location?
Enabling location is optional. If you do enable location, the Map will automatically zoom in to your region of the world.

How do I respond to the question if my mailroom is open but my library is still closed?
Another way to think about this question is, do you want libraries to return your material at this time? If you don’t want your material returned due to lack of staffing, lack of space in your mailroom, etc., please answer “no.” When you are ready to receive ILL physical items, you can update your status.

I mailed materials back to a library that says it is open, so why haven’t they updated the item in OCLC?
A library may be accepting returns but may not be able to process them at this time. Some libraries are quarantining books for several days or more, some have too many items to process at this time, while some may not have staff to process any material at this time. Please be patient. If there is a problem, the library will contact you. Otherwise, don’t worry.

Why does the OCLC Symbol search not work?
  1. This map is community sourced from this form. If a library has not contributed status information to this project through the form, it will not appear in the search or on the map.
  2. If a library enters more than one OCLC Symbol at the same time or makes a spelling error when entering the symbol, it will not appear in the search or on the map.
  3. If a library does not have an entry or the entry does not include longitude and latitude data in the OCLC Institution Registry, it will not appear in the search or on the map.

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