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Audiovisual (AV) Materials

The lending of audiovisual materials for interlibrary loan varies from library to library in the Minitex region.

  • Loan periods tend to be short for AV materials. Some libraries will not renew AV material.
  • Even if the library normally lends AV items, some audiovisual items may be non-circulating.
  • Recently released items usually will not circulate, since these items are in high demand at all libraries.
  • If your patron needs a particular audiovisual item on a specific date, please contact the lending library and arrange your loan directly.
  • To see if another library is likely to lend an audiovisual item to your patron, check the MnLINK/Minitex ILL Policy Database


  • When requesting audiovisual items specify the format needed (CD, VHS, DVD or LP).
  • If no format is specified, our staff will fill your request with either a CD (for sound) or a DVD (for video).

Shipping Audiovisual Items

  • Please return items in the original shipping container. Lenders often purchase heavy duty containers so their material is not damaged during shipping.
  • Avoid exposing these types of materials to magnetic fields and extremes in temperature.
  • Jet packs (envelopes filled with shredded material) may not be used for mailing AV Materials. The dusty filling material will damage tapes and diskettes.

Recommendations and information on AV Materials from the Minitex/MnLINK ILL Committee

Increasing patron demand combined with local restrictions on AV materials are interfering with the patron self-service aspect of MnLINK. Some libraries choose not to loan AV materials, particularly DVDs, outside of their region via interlibrary loan. This is a challenge because patrons who do not understand these restrictions when placing requests for these items are not receiving the requested materials. Staff requesting AV items at the statewide level also have difficulties knowing or remembering which systems have restrictions, creating extra steps in the requesting process.

Circulation & Reimbursement Policies

Identifying the libraries that choose not to circulate AV materials will help save time for staff requesting the materials at the statewide level. However, this could be challenging as each library has the freedom to circulate materials based on their individual mission statements, circulation policies, and goals. While regional systems may stress the importance of sharing AV materials, libraries still have the right to create their own restrictions and policies.

Regulating due dates and circulation policies and creating a standard renewal policy for AV materials would benefit the patron and the library staff who process materials. If library staff could be guaranteed a short turn-around time, they may be more willing to loan out their desired AV materials. The selected time frame would allow enough time for the delivery process and travel time to take place and enough time for the patron to enjoy the materials requested. Patrons can be made aware of limited loan periods and the need for a speedy return of ILL materials at checkout with bookmarks or signage. Most patrons value ILL service and will participate in keeping materials accessible by voluntarily limiting their use of the material.

Clearly stated reimbursement policies and easy processes for reimbursement at the regional level will help ease fears of lost and damaged materials. Making staff aware of the importance of resource sharing leads to better service at all locations. Better customer service and improved access to ILL services improves our status locally and regionally. Open and easy access to materials creates our positive image in the community we serve.

Potential Solutions

Some possible solutions to this issue:

  • Libraries can purchase two copies of a specific title at a discounted price (one to circulate, one marked for local use).
  • Libraries can use Netflix or other streaming video options (like to help supplement collections.
  • Libraries can create community partnerships to help supplement collections.
  • Libraries can balance cost of lending and purchasing – consider purchase as viable ILL option.
  • Libraries can implement longer time for loan periods.
  • Libraries as borrowers can set loan length on AV materials to insure fewer re-requests.
  • Libraries can insure that the AV materials which are not available for interlibrary loan have a collection code that does not allow reserves for ILL patrons.

Resource Sharing News

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Resource Sharing News keeps readers up-to-date about interlibrary loan activities in the Minitex region.


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