What is Interlibrary Loan?
Interlibrary Loan (ILL) is the process by which materials are shared among libraries for their users.
1. Who can use ILL? Most public and university libraries will have a interlibrary loan service. If you are patron at a public library, you will in all probability have access to an interlibrary loan department. Be sure to ask your local librarian about the accessibility of their ILL service.
2. What can I borrow? There is a broad range of materials that can be borrowed from public libraries, which may include: books, articles, cds, dvds, book chapters, music scores, vinyl albums, microfilm, theses and dissertations, etc.)
3. Can I borrow materials from archival collections? Please note that archival papers are rarely able to be loaned out by an interlibrary loan service. When you locate a document that you suspect will require a research visit, be sure to contact the archive directly and ask about the options for accessing the material. In many cases, unless the item is too fragile, it may be possible to pay for a photocopy of select files within genealogical collections.
4. What will it cost? Most ILLs operate free of charge as a public service to library patrons. If a cost is incurred, your local librarian should be able to tell you in advance whether there will be a fee.
5. How long will it take for my item to arrive? Generally, if it is a book or microfilm reel, you should anticipate two weeks. Sometimes rare items may take longer to process. If you are requesting an article, you will probably receive a digital copy within a day or two.