FAQ: Requests for Materials

Here you will find answers to frequently asked questions about requested materials within the library and other related information.

Please first check our library catalog when looking for materials.

Where Do Requested Materials Come From?
Most requests are filled by titles from the Saratoga Springs Public Library collection. Additional items are available through the Southern Adirondack Library System and Mohawk Valley Library System. (Please note that individual library's policies will dictate which items will be sent and which items will not be sent.)
How Do I Request Materials the library owns?
You may request materials using our online catalog. After identifying the item you would like held for you, choose "Place Request." You will be prompted to enter your library card number and your pin number (the default pin number is the last four digits of your phone number.) Librarians are available at the Information Desk and Reference Desk to assist with placing requests. You can access our catalog from home, too, at www.sspl.org.
Can I Request Materials Over the Phone?
Yes. Librarians are available at 518-584-7860, option 4 (or ext. 304). Materials that are on the shelf can be set aside for pick up.
Can I request Materials the Library Doesn't Own?
Yes. If the item is in our catalog you can use the "place request" feature. If the item is not in our catalog you will need to talk to a librarian at the Information Desk or at the Reference Desk, or fill out an online request form.
Can I suggest the library add specific titles?
Yes, if you live in the Saratoga Springs City School District you can fill out an online request form. Please keep in mind the library does not purchase textbooks. The library only adds films in DVD format that have received numerous positive reviews. The library adds only a relatively small number of current popular music CDs as the collection also includes jazz, classical, world music, folk music, etc. Please keep in mind, too, that not everything is readily available for purchase.
Can I request DVDs that are not owned by Saratoga Springs Public Library but that are in the catalog?
Some system libraries loan feature films on DVD and some libraries do not. So, in this case the answer is - maybe.
Can I place requests if I don't live in the Saratoga Springs City School District?
You may not request materials in our New and Popular collection (including current Best Sellers, DVDs, audiobooks, and music CDs) if you live outside of the Saratoga Springs City School district. Materials that are not in the New and Popular collection may be requested by anyone with a SALS/MVLS library card by contacting the Information or Reference Desks.
How long does it take to get a book once a request has been placed?

Most books are sent from area libraries. But please keep in mind that libraries share their collections with many thousands of users and that individual libraries are independent institutions with their own policies and priorities. The first priority for a library is serving its own patrons.

How quickly a book arrives depends on many factors. For instance, if the book you requested is only owned by one library, and someone has it checked out, the request won't be filled until the book is returned. Sad to say, not everything is returned in a timely manner. If a book is checked out at one library, your request will automatically be forwarded to another library. However, requests for best sellers are filled by a patron's home library. We do add additional copies of high demand titles in an effort to keep reserve lists short. Books that are "on order" may come in quickly or may take many months to arrive. Many titles are readily available via our distributor, but for many other titles, individual publishers must be contacted. There are many variations regarding obtaining materials.

If you are under a strict deadline, you may want to purchase the books you need. Library staff can help identify sources from which to purchase books online.

Obtaining requested books in a timely manner, through our reserve system, through interlibrary loan, and through our purchasing procedures is a high priority at Saratoga Springs Public Library. We do our best to fill requests as quickly as possible.

How do I request a book through Interlibrary Loan?
The library has access to materials outside of our public library system through interlibrary loan. Please see the interlibrary loan page for more information.
If the catalog shows the book I want is "available" can I come right down and pick it up?
If you need materials right away, it is best to call the library and ask to have items set aside for you. That way, the librarian can make sure the item is in hand, before you make your trip to the library. If you place a request online for an "available" item, it may not be filled right away. Why? Because items may be missing, items requested online are only collected on weekday mornings, patrons in the library may check the item out before it is set aside for you, there may be other requests pending, etc.