Delivery of library materials is provided as a member benefit to all our libraries.

Delivery Count

All libraries that receive direct van delivery are required to complete quarterly delivery volume counts.

Email Notification of Delivery Interruptions and Changes 

To receive email notices about interruptions and changes on your delivery route, add the "System Delivery Contact" position to your Library Directory & Learning Calendar (L2) account.

Delivery Contacts for Your Library

Please log in to see Delivery Contacts for your library.

Delivery Training Videos

This series of short videos provides basic instructions about getting items from your library to another through RAILS Delivery.

Note: The videos were made several years ago, so some specific information (e.g. where to find things on our website) is no longer current.

Printable Instructions

Library-to-library delivery is an essential element of the interlibrary loan fulfillment process.

Learn about placing interlibrary loan requests.

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
  • Items for HF Group Bindery consolidated pickup
  • Other items, at our discretion

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

Direct Van Delivery

Behind the Scenes

Learn 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). See their procedures for RAILS delivery, including security and sorting.

Frequency of Delivery Service

Frequency of direct delivery service for a library is determined by the average number of items the library receives per week and is subject to change at the discretion of RAILS.

Delivery Days Per WeekItems Received Per Week
1/Mail/On Demand001 – 009
2010 – 059
3060 – 129
4130 – 250

On Demand Delivery

Libraries on an "on call" or "on demand" schedule for one of our delivery routes should use our Delivery Help Desk to request a pick-up.

To place a request, send an email to the Delivery Help Desk at Send your message from the email address used for your Library Directory and Learning Calendar (L2) account, to ensure that the Help Desk will route the message to the correct RAILS service center.

Delivery to Additional Branches

Under the Illinois Administrative Code Rules, library system members can have one delivery point per member at no cost. If your library would like additional service points, RAILS will provide delivery to your branches/additional library locations for a fee of $3,795 per additional location per year. (This works out to approximately $15 per daily delivery stop.)

Your library will be billed for half the amount January 1, and the other half June 30.

If you are interested in this option, please complete the form below and return it to Mark Hatch at:

or by mail to:

Mark Hatch
Reaching Across Illinois Library System
125 Tower Drive
Burr Ridge, IL 60527

Other Delivery Options

Mail Delivery

Libraries that make infrequent use of interlibrary delivery may receive RAILS support in the form of reimbursement of postage incurred to lend or return library materials within Illinois. If your library's System Delivery Route is listed as "Mail" in the L2 directory, please use the form below to request postage reimbursement.

We do not reimburse postage for out-of-state interlibrary loans.

Community Delivery Partnerships

A Community Delivery Partnership (CDP) is an agreement between libraries to have all interlibrary loan items delivered to a single location. For example, a school district and a public library in the same town may enter into a CDP for the public library to serve as the system delivery location for the schools. Thus, the school district receives indirect delivery from RAILS through the public library.

The CDP arrangement allows for more frequent delivery to libraries with low interlibrary loan volume than would be available otherwise. Several hundred libraries in Illinois currently use CDPs.

Both the delivery-site library and CDP partner library have responsibilities. The delivery location will accept incoming materials for all participants and provide staff to separate items for pick up by the other libraries, notify partner libraries when they have materials to pick up, and prepare materials to go out on delivery from all participants. Partner libraries will pick up items from the primary delivery library on an agreed upon schedule or when notified that materials are waiting, as well as drop off items to be sent.

For more information about CDPs, including detailed requirements and an agreement template, see the Illinois State Library's CDP page.