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Faculty Resources and Services: Interlibrary Loan (ILL)

Learn about library resources and how to use them to improve your teaching.

What is Interlibrary Loan?

Interlibrary Loan (ILL) is the term used for the sharing of library resources (books, articles, DVDs, etc.) between libraries, for the benefit of their individual users (patrons).

Today, most libraries belong to at least one network comprised of many libraries which have agreed to share their resources with each other. 

The time it will take to obtain items via ILL will vary, largely depending on the item format.  Articles (and other electronic items) can generally be provided within 2-3 business days--often the next business day after the request is made.  Books and DVDs usually take a week or less.  Due dates for physical items vary with the lending library--if you know you will need an item for longer than 3-4 weeks, please let us know when you make the request and we will try and accommodate you.

ILL: What Types of Items?

Except for books and DVDs, the library will usually provide an electronic version of an item (PDF or related).  We can request both academic and general interest items.

Item types we can usually provide include:

  • Print books
  • Journal articles
  • Book chapter(s)
  • Dissertations/Theses
  • DVDs

As long as items are for personal research or personal use, there should be no copyright issues in borrowing them.

HOWEVER--if you want us to borrow item(s) for you to use/share with students in a course, we will need to investigate the copyright implications before obtaining the item(s).  Please see the Copyright page of this guide, which includes both guidelines and a form to submit to the library to start the permissions process.

How to Make ILL Requests

There are several ways to request items: 

The easiest way is to email with the details of your request(s).  Providing a citation is preferred (any style is fine); but if you are missing some information, please provide as much information as you have and we will try to find the item(s).  Providing a link to the item in a library catalog like WorldCat (or Amazon) is also acceptable.

You can also provide a hard copy of citation(s) and/or information to a librarian--for example, if you would like several items listed in the References of a book or article, make a copy of the page(s) and indicate which items you would like.  (No need to re-type the citations into an email.)

Copyright and ILL

Interlibrary loan items are subject to copyright law.  We are required to post the following Warning of Copyright statement in the library and on all ILL request forms. The library reserves the right to deny requests if we believe fulfilling the request would violate copyright law.


The copyright law of the United States (Title 17, United States Code) governs the making of photocopies or other reproductions of copyrighted materials.

Under certain conditions specified in the law, libraries and archives are authorized to furnish a photocopy or other reproduction. One of these specified conditions is that the photocopy or reproduction is not to be "used for any purpose other than private study, scholarship, or research." If a user makes a request for, or later uses, a photocopy or reproduction for purposes in excess of 'fair use', that user may be liable for copyright infringement.

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