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Resources for SEAL: Frequently Asked Questions

Questions about...

SEAL (General) Managing Your Account Searching the Catalog & Placing Requests Managing Requests Delivery Borrowing / Lending (General)
About SEAL:

Any library in the Southeastern New York region (Columbia, Greene, Ulster, Dutchess, Orange, Sullivan, Putnam and Rockland counties) can participate in SEAL. If you are interested in joining, contact the Southeastern Office at 845-883-9065 ext 115, or by email at We will tell you more about how SEAL works and walk you through the registration process.

There is no cost to participate in SEAL. However, there are normal shipping costs incurred when using UPS, FedEx, or USPS to mail items. Borrowing libraries are also responsible for any fines related to lost or damaged items.

In order to create a SEAL account, you need to obtain a registration code. You can get a code by contacting Southeastern at 845-883-9065 ext 115, or by email at You will also get the code if you attend a SEAL webinar.

If you want to know whether a particular library is participating, you can check the SEAL ILL Directory. The directory lists all current participants, and includes email addresses and phone numbers for each member. Libraries are displayed alphabetically. To locate a specific participant, you can search using the search bar along the top of the page. There is also a drop-down menu where you can sort and view libraries by their individual system.

Managing Your SEAL Account:

A few SEAL members have reported an occasional issue with logging in. If you are having an issue logging in, first check that you are logging in with your SEAL username and not your account email. Our logins are also case sensitive.

Some SEAL users have reported a particular login issue where they have to enter their login information twice to sign in. One culprit for this issue can be browsers having saved login information that is not accurate. If you encounter this error, check to see if you have any saved login information for SEAL in your browser. If so, you can delete the saved login which should prevent you from having to log in twice in the future. (If you have been a long-time SEAL user, you might have multiple logins associated with SEAL or senylrc. It would be a good idea to remove all of these to ensure these older logins aren’t contributing to this particular issue.)

See below for instructions on how to locate and remove login information from Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome, and Microsoft Edge.

To view saved passwords in Mozilla Firefox, first click on the menu option in the right-hand corner. From there, click Passwords. Your saved passwords will show up along the left-hand side of the screen. There is also a search bar along the top of the page. One quick way to find SEAL passwords is to search by Southeastern’s domain name – Once you locate a password, options to remove or edit the login will be visible along the top of the screen.

To find your login information in chrome, click the three dots on the far right-hand side to access your menu. Select the option passwords and autofill. From there, select Google Password Manager. This will open a list of your saved passwords. There is also a search bar along the top of the page which can be used to locate a specific login. You can remove a saved login by clicking on the three vertical dots and selecting “remove”.

Lastly, to find your saved passwords in Microsoft Edge, first click the three dots on the far-right hand side of the page. From there, choose the settings option. Clicking this will open a user profile. You can select the option passwords to view saved login information. Similarly to the other browsers, you can search for a particular login here along the top of the page. To remove a specific login, click on the three horizontal dots and select “delete” from the drop-down menu.

If you have forgotten your username, or the email affiliated with your account, you can contact Southeastern and we will provide that information to you. If you forget your password, you can reset it using your email address or username. On the SEAL homepage, hit Staff login. Click the option Reset Your Password and type in your email or username. You will receive a link via email that will let you log in and reset it.

If your library is ever unable to fill SEAL requests, you can suspend your account temporarily. To do so, head to User Profile and click the option Library Profile under the Edit Profiles tab on the left-hand side of the screen. In this window, there will be an option to suspend your library's lending status. You should change your status to "yes", indicating you want to stop receiving ILL requests. This action will remove your library as an option at the request screen. You can set a date for the suspension to end, and your account will automatically become active again. If you don't indicate a re-start date, you will automatically become active again after a week.

When you log into your account, select the option User Profile under the Edit Profiles tab on the left-hand side of the screen. Selecting this option opens a new screen where you can change your account email and password. If you make any changes to this page, be sure to hit save at the bottom of the page before exiting.

You can change the email lending requests are sent to in your Library Profile. There is an option in the profile called “Library ILL Email”. You can key in the desired email there, and then click submit at the bottom of the page. Once you have updated the email, all requests that are placed to your library will be sent to that address. Many libraries choose to use a shared email for lending so multiple people can access the requests.

Searching the Catalog and Placing Requests:

In the summer of 2020, categories were added to the search screen. SEAL acts as both a regional discovery tool (similar to Worldcat) and the catalog for inter-library loan. This drop-down menu allows you to choose the way you want to interact with the catalog. If you would like to search all libraries in SEAL – including those that do not participate in inter-library loan -- you can select “all” from the menu. The other options allow you to search all lenders, or particular library types such as academic, public, and school. The default search is set to “All Lenders”.

The SEAL catalog can sometimes be a little quirky. It runs through an information retrieval protocol called Z39.50, which can occasionally result in inconsistent or unpredictable search results. Z39.50 performs live searches of library’s catalogs, so sometimes server or other technical issues can impact your results. If you do a search and items don’t seem to be displaying correctly, there are a few things you can try. You can refresh the page, close your browser and re-open it, or go into your browsing history and delete your recent browsing history and cached files. This brief article from Indiana University details how to delete browsing data from each type of internet browser.

When requesting periodical articles from SEAL, there is a drop-down menu to indicate copyright status. You have two options: CCG (Compliance CONTU Guidelines) and CCL (Compliance Copyright Law), which relate to the current copyright status of the item in question.

CCG refers to the CONTU Guidelines, which were made to prevent ILL being used as a substitute for periodical subscriptions. You choose CCG if: the article you are requesting is less than five years old, and if it is the fifth or less request you’ve made from that particular journal in the last calendar year.

Choosing CCL, on the other hand, indicates the article is protected by Copyright Law. You choose CCL if an article is: older than five years old, owned by your library, or the sixth or greater request you’ve made from a journal in the calendar year. If it is the sixth or greater request, you will need to pay a copyright fee to the Copyright Clearance Center for use.

There are a few different reasons why you might get this message. The SEAL catalog was designed to serve two distinct purposes. It acts as a regional discovery tool for Southeastern NY, including holdings from over 400 libraries. It also serves as the catalog for regional ILL. Currently, about 177 libraries in the region are active SEAL participants. If a library is not a SEAL participant, their holdings won’t show up in the list of lenders. As a result, sometimes items can appear to be available at the title screen, even though there are actually no participating SEAL libraries with that item. To avoid this issue, make sure the catalog is set to the category "All lenders" when you search for an item.

Another reason this message might appear is because of item filtering. Libraries can choose to turn on / off lending for certain types of materials. Many libraries cannot lend electronic materials due to licensing restrictions. Some also choose not to lend AV, special collections, or reference materials due to their fragility or relative irreplaceability. The automated filtering prevents libraries from receiving requests they are unable to fill.

This message can also occur if a participating library has lending turned off. SEAL has an option allowing libraries to temporarily turn off lending for vacations or library closures, which automatically removes their items from the list of lenders.

There are a few ways you can increase the likelihood that you will receive an item from a library.

The first of these is to pay close attention to the type of item you are requesting. For example, many libraries will not be able to loan brand new books. Often there is a period of time where these books are only available to their patrons, ensuring they have the first opportunity to access them. These books will often have "new" within their call number. E-books, special collections materials, reference items, and articles from e-journals are also generally not available to be loaned in SEAL.

It is also important to note the availability of an item in the request screen and only select materials that are listed as available. It is a good idea to double-check the status of an item in a library's individual catalog before placing a request. This can give you additional information on the current status of the item.

In the October 2023 website update, the option to place multiple SEAL requests at once was added to the request screen. These requests are for book club or classroom sets, only. To place a multiple request, select multiple copies. This will allow you to select multiple libraries on the request screen. These requests will be placed simultaneously to the libraries you chose.

When placing multiple requests, please indicate that it is part of a multiple request in the note field. Also, spread out multiple requests among different library systems when possible.

Managing Your Borrowing and Lending Requests:

SEAL has several status options for borrowed and lent items. These updates can be accessed in your borrowing and lending request histories under the column that says action. For borrowers, these options include: canceling requests, receiving items, requesting a renewal, and returning items. On the lender side, you can fill requests, edit due dates, approve renewals, and check an item in. Other than indicating whether or not you can fill a request, status updates are not mandatory. They are an additional and optional way to track ILL items in SEAL. Check out this chart for detailed descriptions of each status option.

Select request actions have the option to be updated in bulk. For borrowers these include cancelling requests, receiving items, placing renewals, and returning items. For lenders, bulk actions include not filling requests and checking items back in. To update multiple requests, first select the requests you would like to update. Then, select the action to perform under the Perform Bulk Action drop-down menu. Lastly, select submit to update the requests at once.

You can request a renewal directly in SEAL. First click on User Profile on the SEAL homepage. Choose the option Borrowing under Request status on the left-hand side of the screen. Your requests will display chronologically. You can scroll to find your specific request or search in the ILL# bar using the number that was assigned to your request. Click the option Request a Renewal. Note: this option will only appear once you have updated an item’s status to received.

Clicking Request a Renewal will generate an email to the lending library asking them if you can have a renewal. If they agree, an email will be sent to you with the updated due date.

You can also request a renewal by emailing the lending library directly, using their contact information from the SEAL directory. Only renew an item for your patron once you have received confirmation from the lending library.

Once lenders receive a borrowing request, they have a certain period of time to answer the request (five business days). If they do not respond to the request, it will automatically expire. If a request expires, you should try placing a new request with a different library.


Empire Library Delivery (ELD) is a statewide delivery service managed by the Empire State Library Network (ESLN). ELD contracts with a courier service, allowing for regular delivery between participating libraries across New York State. SEAL members that are a part of ELD can use the service to send SEAL items to other ELD libraries. You can find all current ELD participants on the up-to-date roster.

These suggestions are generated based on the delivery options listed in your Library’s Profile, as well as the other library in your transaction. If both libraries have access to the same method, the suggestions will indicate it as an appropriate delivery method.

Note: public libraries should keep Empire Library Delivery and Public Library system Courier selected as delivery options to ensure accuracy in the suggestions.

The delivery method you choose for a particular item depends both on your library and the library you are sending materials to.

Mid-Hudson Libraries and RCLS libraries are able to send materials back and forth to one another using their couriers, which meet regularly to exchange items. RCLS and MHLS have routing slips available on their sites, which they can use to ship items to the other system.

Several libraries using SEAL are participants in the Empire Library Delivery program. If you participate, you should check to see if the library you are lending to / borrowing from is a participant, as well. You can find participants in the ELD roster here. MHLS and RCLS are both ELD members, as well as several of the academic libraries participating in SEAL. Public library members should send items to other ELD libraries using their courier with a system routing slip. All other ELD libraries should package and send items according to regular ELD guidelines. However, it is important to note that if you are sending a SEAL item to a public library, you must address it to the system and not the individual library. The system will distribute the items accordingly.

All other deliveries should be made using typical methods such as UPS or USPS. More in-depth descriptions of each delivery method can be found on the libguide Delivery page.

To deliver items to and from school and special libraries, you will need to use delivery vendors such as UPS, FedEx, or USPS. You cannot use a public library courier or Empire Library Delivery to deliver to those libraries. There is no standard or required delivery vendor for SEAL users; instead, you should choose the company that best meets your library’s needs. There are some suggestions for delivering via this method on the Delivery page.

General Borrowing and Lending Questions:

While rare, it can sometimes happen that materials sent through SEAL are lost or damaged. Our Code and Procedures outline some best practices for managing this.

Borrowing libraries in SEAL are responsible for all lost and damaged items. The ILL Code states, “the requesting library’s responsibility for this loss is based on the concept that if the request had not been made, the material would not have left the supplier’s shelf, and thus would not have been put at risk” (section 4.9). If an item is lost or damaged, the borrowing library should first contact the lender and alert them to the situation.

Lenders have the option to request repayment for a lost / damaged book. This, however, is not mandatory; the Code states that although “the requesting library is required to pay if billed for a lost or damaged item, the supplying library is not necessarily required to charge for a lost item” (4.10). The code goes on to note that borrowing and lending libraries may need to work together to resolve the issue. If a book got lost in delivery, for example, one of the libraries may need to contact the delivery vendor for more information.

Lending libraries can choose their preferred method of repayment (4.10). This can include invoicing for repair costs, or for the market value of an item. Lending libraries can also decide whether they will accept a replacement copy. Lending libraries should send final bills for replacement / damages no later than one year after the item’s initial due date (5.4). Borrowing libraries should pay invoices no later than six months from the initial billing date (4.10). Borrowing libraries can charge their patron for the cost of the lost / missing item as they typically would. However, even if the patron does not pay, the library is still responsible for the cost of the item.

There are a few possibilities for why you didn’t receive an item requested through SEAL. It is possible the lending library updated the status to “filled” but forgot to send the item. It is also possible that it has been delayed in shipping, or was lost during delivery. Contact the lending library if you do not receive the material in a reasonable amount of time. You can find their contact information in the SEAL directory, or in the initial borrowing email. They can provide helpful information—such as when the item was sent and what delivery method was used—which can help you narrow down its location.

In accordance with our regional inter-library loan code and procedures, the borrowing library is responsible for replacing an item that was lost in shipping. While rare, this is a possibility.

If the lending library discovers the item was shipped and received by your library, check to make sure the item was not misplaced at your library. In some cases, SEAL books have accidentally been shelved along with the borrowing library’s own materials. If you are part of a public library system, you can also contact your system representatives for guidance on courier deliveries.

The borrowing library took responsibility for the item once it was shipped to them. If they do not return an item, first try contacting them using the information from the SEAL directory. If the item is reported lost or not returned in a reasonable amount of time, you have the option to bill the borrowing library for a replacement. Bills should be sent within a year of the item’s initial due date. Your library can also decide whether they will accept a replacement copy of the item in lieu of payment.

Note for Empire Library Delivery users: the policy for lost and missing items was updated in July 2020. If an item sent through ELD using the courier’s tracking system goes missing, you can file a claim on the 10th day following its pick-up from your library / system. If the item is not located after 30 days, you will be reimbursed for it. More information on submitting a claim can be found in the ELD Policies and Procedures Manual .

There are no set lending periods for items sent through SEAL. In SEAL, as with other ILL systems, due dates are up to the discretion of the lending library. However, it is crucial to incorporate extra time into an ILL lending period as the delivery of items can often take up to a week or longer. The patron also needs time to be contacted and pick up the item at their library. A recommended minimum lending period for books is 5 weeks. As per our regional Code, due dates are defined as the days items should be checked in at the borrowing library for return to the lender. Lender libraries should take delivery time into consideration before administering late notices.

Per our regional Code, lending libraries can suspend service to select borrowing libraries. However, this should only be done under extreme circumstances. Per the Code (4.16): “examples of actions that may result in suspension include repeated failure to return loans in a timely manner, multiple lost or damaged items, allowing ‘library use only’ items to leave the library, or failing to pay the supplier's charges.” Before suspending service, lending libraries should contact the borrowing library to try and resolve the issue. It is also important that lenders alert borrowing libraries to any accumulated fees / fines and give them an opportunity to pay before suspending service.

Southeastern NY Library Resources Council
21 South Elting Corners Road | Highland, NY 12528
Phone: (845) 883-9065