Resource Sharing Services

Resources for Libraries and Lifelong Learning provides leadership to Wisconsin libraries on resource sharing practices and procedures and guidance on current and future policies.

We coordinate interlibrary loan service for Wisconsin libraries, act as a clearinghouse for requests created on the WISCAT resource sharing system, refer requests to the OCLC resource sharing network on behalf of WISCAT libraries, and troubleshoot individual requests from WISCAT libraries.

Wisconsin ILL Guidelines 2012

Book Kits

RL&LL actively maintains a list of book kits available for loan from libraries throughout Wisconsin.

These kits contain multiple copies of a single title and often include a discussion outline. Many titles can often be used in conjunction with BadgerLink resources such as TeachingBooks and NoveList. Perfect for public library book clubs, K-12 classrooms and reading circles.

Libraries wishing to borrow one of the book club kits should contact those libraries directly by phone or email or, where indicated, submit an interlibrary loan request.

Libraries willing to lend their kits should send an email to with titles, number of copies and preferred requesting method.

Book Club Kits

Early Literacy Kits

For early learners, RL&LL has also compiled a list of Early Literacy Kits appropriate for ages 0-2 and 3-5. These kits are available through WISCAT interlibrary loan. The kits provide pre-planned story times on popular themes for use in childcare centers, classrooms and at home. Each kit contains several different book titles and other items related to a theme.  

If you have Early Literacy Kits that you are willing to loan, please let us know at 

Early Literacy Kits

Genealogical Materials

Genealogical materials owned at libraries seldom circulate. Items that contain any form of the words "genealogy" or "family history" in the title or subject lines of the bibliographic record can rarely be borrowed through interlibrary loan. It is essential that libraries help their patrons understand the limitations on borrowing genealogical materials.

A patron may request that information be copied from genealogical material. The bibliographic record will indicate if the title has an index from which something may be photocopied. Requests for photocopies of information on individuals may be submitted by giving the full names and any additional relevant information such as birth and death dates.

The federal census, a few state censuses, and a variety of other genealogical materials are available online in free and subscription databases. Check on your library's access to genealogy databases such as HeritageQuest Online (a BadgerLink resource) and Ancestry Library Edition. Check for electronic resources available through state historical societies. For example, the Wisconsin State Historical Society website's genealogy section includes Wisconsin digital research collections which are searchable.

Interlibrary loan at the Wisconsin Historical Society Library is handled by UW-Madison.  Photocopy requests have a 50 page limit and microfilm loans are limited to 6 reels per request.

If access to the online genealogy databases is not possible, the following information may help when requesting:

  • Non-Circulating Census Microfilm for Wisconsin - Indexes and Census Schedules: There is one circulating copy of the Wisconsin census materials at the Wisconsin Historical Society. If the circulating copies are in use, photocopies of specific information may be requested from the non-circulating copies.
  • The 1890 federal census was destroyed by fire before it could be microfilmed and does not exist at any location.
  • Requests for Wisconsin Federal or Wisconsin State census index or soundex information should contain the type of census index (Federal or State), and also the year, city or county, state, districts or precincts (for larger geographical areas, such as Milwaukee), name of person being searched. The soundex code need not be included.
  • Requests for Wisconsin Federal or Wisconsin State census should contain the type of census (Federal or State), year, city or county, state, districts or precincts (for larger geographical areas, such as Milwaukee), index citation (reel and page), and name of person being searched.
  • Federal census index or soundex information should contain the type of census (federal), year, city or county, state, districts or precincts (for larger geographical areas), name of person being searched. The soundex code need not be included.
  • Federal census requests should contain the type of census (federal), year, city or county, state, districts or precincts (for larger geographical areas), name of person being searched.
  • Archival material on microfilm owned at the Wisconsin Historical Society only may be used on-site. Requests include the name or topic needed so photocopies can be made. Patrons may need to travel to the Wisconsin Historical Society or an Area Research Center (ARC).
  • City Directories: Requests should include the city, state, name, and date.
  • Regimental Histories: Requests include complete bibliographic information (if known) and name being searched. Additional information such as which arm of the service as well as any other information (i.e. infantry, etc.) is helpful.
  • Passenger Lists: Several of the National Archives' microfilm series of passenger lists and indexes are owned at the Wisconsin Historical Society. There may also be print indexes and lists available. For those not owned at the State Historical Society, the patron for a fee can obtain copies directly from the National Archives. There were no lists kept for Milwaukee, Chicago, and other ports on the Great Lakes. Requests should contain the port of entry, date (as close as possible, including the month), ship name and shipping line, name being searched, ship's point of origin.
  • Plat Maps: Requests include the year or time period, city, township, county and state.
  • Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps: Requests include the year or time period, city, township, county, and state.

Sometimes patrons' needs are better met through avenues other than interlibrary loan. Patrons may need to do more research on their own or travel to the Wisconsin Historical Society or one of the Area Research Centers before using interlibrary loan.  A local LDS Family History Center may provide another alternative for the patron to consider.   LDS Centers may charge fees for some services.

Newspaper Microfilm

Creating requests for newspaper microfilm can be tricky. Please consider the following before submitting a request:
  • Include city and state in which the newspaper was published. 
  • Confirm the title matches the publication dates needed.  Newspaper titles change over time.
  • The Wisconsin Historical Society will loan a maximum of 6 reels per patron, per title.

Contact RL&LL or your library system’s clearinghouse staff with questions.

Materials in High Demand

RL&LL maintains a list of materials; books, audio books and visual formats that are in high demand at the owning library. Items on this list are unlikely to be available through interlibrary loan.

RL&LL compiles the list using the NY Times Best Seller list, Amazon Bestsellers, Audible Audio Books Bestsellers and Amazon's Bestsellers in Movies and TV. These are often the newer titles published within the last 12 -18 months.

This list is updated frequently and is intended as a guide for ILL staff when determining the appropriateness of submitting a request.

In Constant Demand List

Electronic Resources

Electronic Resources  are not available through interlibrary loan. Please use Wisconsin's Digital Library for digital materials, or check Open Access Resources for ILL.




NCIP: NISO Circulation Interchange Protocol
ANSI/NISO Z39.83 technical standard defines a computer-to-computer protocol to exchange messages between and among computer-based library applications to perform the functions necessary to lend and borrow items, to provide controlled access to electronic resources, and to facilitate co-operative management of these functions.*

National Information Standards Organization Z39.50 Information Retrieval Protocol
ANSI/NISO Z39.50 defines a standard way for two computers to communicate for the purpose of information retrieval.* 

ISO ILL Protocol (10160/10161)
This standard defines computer-to-computer communication between interlibrary loan (ILL) systems to send and respond to ILL requests by libraries using different, Protocol-compliant, ILL systems.*

*Standards information from Auto-Graphics, Inc.

Library of Congress Standards Information




Resource Sharing Staff

Chris photo Christine Barth
Vicke photo Vickie Long
Michele photo Michele Martinsen
Pat photo Pat Stutz
Chris photo Chris Tiedje
For questions about this information, contact Christine Barth (608) 224-6171