Interlibrary Delivery

Delivery is provided as a member benefit to all our libraries. Your library receives delivery service through one of these methods:

  • RAILS delivery vehicles or contracted delivery (see video below about our contractor's procedures)
  • Community Delivery Partnerships
  • Illinois Library Delivery Service (ILDS)
  • Courier service within Chicago
  • U.S. Postal Service

Use the Library Lookup (member directory) to find delivery codes, routes, days, Illinois Library Delivery Service stops, and other information for RAILS libraries.

Order RAILS self-adhesive delivery labels.

IHLS Delivery information is on the Illinois Heartland Library System website.

What We Deliver

The following items may be sent through interlibrary delivery:

  • Library materials, defined as items that are classified, cataloged, and available for loan.
  • Items sent from RAILS, the Illinois State Library, or the Illinois Secretary of State.

Please note that CDs and DVDs in their original packaging (which are extremely fragile) are not designed for transit without additional preventive measures to prevent breakage.

We will not deliver:

  • Items that are individually addressed and can be mailed via the U.S. Postal Service.
  • Library newsletters.
  • Bulk items for distribution.
  • Items sent to locations outside of Illinois.

Other items may be delivered at our discretion.

Behind the Scenes of a RAILS Delivery Hub

Learn more about how RAILS handles the delivery of materials for hundreds of libraries around northern, central, and western Illinois.

Continental Transportation

Several of our routes are serviced by our contractor, Continental Transportation (a division of CTL Global).

The video below describes Continental's procedures for RAILS delivery, including security and sorting operations.

FAQ on Delivery Automation (June 2021)

RAILS invited Greg Pronevitz, a consultant we have been working with to study our delivery service, to speak at our April 27, 2021 RAILS Member Update. Greg talked about his work with RAILS thus far, which has included examining the quality and cost-effectiveness of our current RAILS delivery service, as well as exploring options RAILS might want to consider to automate services at some point in the future. RAILS has compiled this Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) based on member questions at that Member Update.