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Resources for SEAL: Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions for SEAL

Any library in the Southeastern New York region (comprising Columbia, Greene, Ulster, Dutchess, Orange, Sullivan, Putnam and Rockland counties) can participate in SEAL.
If you are interested in joining SEAL, 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 inter-library loan shipping costs incurred when using UPS, FedEx, or USPS to mail items.
If you want to know if a particular library is participating in SEAL, you can check our directory. The directory lists all current participants, and includes email addresses and phone numbers for each member. Libraries are listed alphabetically, but there is also a search bar at the top of the page where you can key in the specific library you are looking for. You can also sort and view libraries by individual system.
A few SEAL members have reported an occasional issue with logging in. This can be due to web browsers saving passwords that are incorrectly typed in, and inserting them automatically into the login. This can also happen if a password has been recently changed. One way to fix this issue is to go into your browser's settings and manually delete the saved information. This brief article summarizes how to delete passwords for each type of browser. Our logins are also case sensitive. Try typing both the username and the password a second time. If you still can’t log in, contact Southeastern for assistance.
If you have forgotten your username, or the email affiliated with your account, you can contact Southeastern and we will provide that information. If you forget your password information, you can reset it using your email address or username. On the SEAL homepage, hit Staff login. Click the option Request New Password and type in your email or username. You will receive a link via email that will let you log in and reset it.
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. SEAL members that are a part of ELD can use the service to send SEAL items to other ELD libraries.
The drop-down menu is a catch-all for all the delivery methods a library could be using. It is not reflective of every option that your library might have available to them. For example, Mid-Hudson and RCLS couriers are only options for those individual library systems. More information about delivery in our region is available in the "Delivery" tab. If you are unsure of the method you should be using, you can also reach out to a library manager at your location or contact

Figuring out the correct delivery method for SEAL can be a challenge. Delivery methods differ based on both 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. 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 information is available on the Delivery page.

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 ILL form drop-down menu. Choose to request from libraries whose item has a dash (-), or a status such as available, on shelf, and checked in. If the item says something like: on hold, checked out, lost, on search, or has a date listed, it will not be available. It can be a good idea to double-check the status of an item in a library's catalog before placing a request. This can give you additional information on the availability of the item.

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. If you do a search and items don’t seem to be displaying correctly, try refreshing the page or exiting the browser completely and then re-opening it.
SEAL has an easy way to exclude all search results from your home system. Click the My Account option. From there, click the Edit option. This will open a window that allows you to edit and view information, including your username and password. Scroll down to the bottom of the page. There will be a button that says “filter own system.” Click this, and it will remove your library from the drop-down menu of libraries at the request screen.

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 165 libraries in the region are active SEAL participants. If a library is not a SEAL participant, its holdings won’t show up in the drop-down menu. 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.

Another reason this message might appear is because of item filtering. Libraries can choose to turn on / off lending for certain types of materials. This occurs most often with reference books, electronic resources, and special collections 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 suspend their library, which automatically removes their items from the drop-down menu.

When requesting periodical articles from SEAL, there is a drop-down menu to indicate copyright status. CCG refers to the Compliance 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 indicates the article is protected by Copyright Law. You choose CCL if an item is: older than five years old, your library owns the journal, or it is 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.

You can request a renewal directly in SEAL. First click on My Account on the SEAL homepage. Choose the option SEE ALL REQUESTS PLACED BY YOUR LIBRARY. 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 Renew. Note: this option will only appear once you have updated an item’s status to received.

Clicking Request a Renew 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.

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” (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 books. 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 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 was lost during the shipping process, or taking an abnormally long time to be delivered. Contact the lending library or Southeastern if you do not receive the material in a reasonable amount of time. You can find the contact information for SEAL users in the directory. They can provide more information about whether an item was sent, and the method used to do so.

In accordance with our regional interlibrary 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. In some cases, SEAL books have accidentally been shelved along with the borrowing library’s own materials.

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. If there are any issues receiving payment for a lost item, contact Southeastern and we can assist you.
If your library is ever unable to fill SEAL requests, you can suspend your account temporarily. To do so, head to My Account and click the option Library Lending Profile. 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. You can set a date for the suspension to end, and your account will automatically become active again.

Over the summer, status update options were added to SEAL. 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 the 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.

Some of these status updates are dependent on others. For example, once a lender has filled a request, then the received option will appear on the borrower side. After the borrower receives the item, they will be able to request renewals and return the item. The check in option for lenders will appear once a borrower has hit the returned option, or automatically after thirty days. For more information, see our Status Updates Overview.

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. If a patron needs more time with an item, borrowing libraries can request renewals directly within SEAL, or by contacting the lending library.

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