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FAQ - Interlibrary Loan

What is Interlibrary Loan?

Interlibrary loan (ILL) is a service that enables our library to obtain books and articles from other libraries throughout the world. Through this service, Brookens Library assists the scholarly research of UIS's students, faculty and staff.
Loans obtained on interlibrary loan become the borrower's responsibility from the time of receipt until the material is returned to the ILL department. Patrons will be responsible for costs incurred due to lost or damaged items.

Who is eligible to use ILL?

Currently enrolled students, faculty (both current and emeritus), and staff of UIS.

When should I use ILL?

Use ILL when you need a book that is not available in Brookens Library or through the I-Share catalog. Also use ILL when you need an article not held by Brookens Library.

What is the difference between I-Share and ILL?

These are both ways to obtain books from other libraries. If a book is owned by one of the other 70+ I-Share libraries in Illinois, then patrons are required to request from them first. The patron requests the book directly from the online catalog (I-Share Catalog). If the book is not available, or has been requested and not filled by an I-Share library, then patrons may request it through ILL. The ILL department will then request the book from libraries outside the I-Share system. (If requested and unfilled from I-Share, please indicate this in the comments section of the ILL request form.)

What is the cost for ILL?

Charges for ILL services are subsidized by Brookens Library and not passed on to the patron.

How long does it take?

The normal turn around time for ILL is 1-2 weeks,articles usually arriving quicker than books.Many factors play a part in how long it will actually take (including how many libraries own the item, where they are located, their willingness to fill the request, etc.) It is essential that you plan ahead and allow enough time for materials to arrive. Incomplete and/or inaccurate citations often slow processing time. Please see a Reference Librarian if you need help completing citations.

How do I contact the ILL department?

You may contact ILL staff by email at lib-ill@uis.edu, or by phone at 217-206-6601. Department hours are 8:30am-4:30pm. M-F. If you leave a message or send an email outside of those hours, someone will get back to you as soon as possible.

May I request videos, DVDs or CDs through ILL?

No. Brookens Library does not make our Video/DVD/CD collections available to other libraries through ILL, therefore it is against ILL policy to request these types of items from other libraries.


May I borrow entire journals?

No, the ILL department can order articles from journals following the copyright laws, but the journal itself may not be borrowed.

Can requests be turned down?

Yes. If a lending library cannot be found, if the citation is incorrect and the item cannot be found, if the item is owned by Brookens Library, or if a book is available at an I-Share library (see earlier question about I-Share .) In these cases, the request will be cancelled, and the patron will be notified of this cancellation.

What materials can I request through ILL?

  • Books not owned by Brookens Library or not available from an I-Share library.
  • Photocopies of periodical (journal/magazine) articles not owned by Brookens Library.

What materials are generally not available through ILL?

Software, recently published materials, reference materials, rare or valuable materials. The ILL staff will TRY to obtain the material, but the decision to loan material is at the discretion of the lending library.

How do I submit requests to the ILL department?

You may submit an online request from My ILL
Also, if a book or article record is located inpne of our online database, there is a "borrow from another library" link that will direct you to My ILL.


How will I receive materials that have been obtained through ILL?

Books that are obtained through ILL are held at the Circulation Desk on Level 2 of Brookens Library.You will be notified by email when the book arrives, and they will need to have your current I-card with you to pick the items up. Articles will be posted to your My ILL account, with an accompanying email indicating the article has been delivered.

How long may I keep materials and may I renew?

The lending library determines the loan period, restrictions, and renewal policy for its materials.
Borrowers should make every effort to complete their work with ILL materials within the original loan period. If a renewal request is necessary, you may do so through your MY ILL account. Some libraries stipulate their materials cannot be renewed. This is why it is not a good idea to request materials that will be needed for a whole semester.

May I request textbooks for my classes through ILL?

No. The ILL department cannot request books/textbooks that are required reading for classes.

Though we understand that textbook prices are especially high, the library is unable to borrow required class textbooks via Interlibrary Loan. Why?

  1. Most libraries do not include textbooks as part of their collection development policies. Therefore it can be extremely difficult to locate a library that owns any edition of the needed title (much less the exact edition being used in any given semester.) Even if an edition, any edition, is finally located and borrowed, it could take well into the term, if we are lucky.
  2. Loaned books usually take one to two weeks to arrive, so students would already be behind in their class work and reading by the time they arrive.
  3. ILL due dates are relatively short, being checked out at the lending library before the book is even shipped. Once travel time occurs, a due date might be down to three weeks upon arrival. Even if a renewal is allowed, it’s usually for a shorter period of time and never long enough for a patron to keep the book the whole semester.
  4. There are not enough copies of textbooks in libraries to continue to request new copies all semester long.
  5. Failure to return the items when due often lead to our library’s borrowing privileges being suspended by the lending library. Therefore all patrons suffer when we can’t borrow books from those lenders.
  6. ILL loans often cost UIS a loan fee. We have to look at our expenditures and decide what is best for all patrons, and paying loan fees for the few students that don’t want to buy their textbooks is not best for our whole patron base.

So considering all of these reasons, not allowing required course textbook requests protects you from getting far behind in your class work and study while waiting for a textbook that might not be able to be borrowed, from losing your library and ILL privileges and being responsible for replacement costs and fees should you neglect to return a book when it is due. It also is best for the whole patron base of the UIS library, which we have to look at, not just the wants of a few students.

What good is ILL if it cannot supply my textbooks? Your textbooks give you the basic framework for your classes—the library’s collections and ILL services provide the rest. The library provides you supplementary materials to augment your required reading. ILL offers you the opportunity to get materials that we don’t hold that will assist you with your projects, papers and presentations.