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What is Interlibrary Loan (ILL)?

Interlibrary loan is the set of services that allows University Library Indianapolis patrons to access research materials not owned by the library. In addition to borrowing materials for our patrons from other libraries, we lend Library materials to other libraries for their patrons' use.

The practice of Interlibrary Loan in the United States in governed by the conditions set by the Interlibrary Loan Code of the American Library Association and by the regulations of individual lending libraries. International resource sharing outside of the United States is governed by the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions' International Lending and Document Delivery: Principles and Guidelines for Procedure.

Requests for photocopies may fall under the restrictions imposed by the federal copyright guidelines enacted in 1976 and governed by Title 17 of the U.S. code. For more information about copyright, please visit the U.S. Copyright Office at

Who is eligible to place requests to borrow materials from other libraries?

University Library Indianapolis will only accept interlibrary loan requests from current faculty, staff and students affiliated with University Library or the Herron School of Art Library. Distance education students may submit copy requests, but need to place book requests with their local public library if they are unable to pick up materials at the Library or the Herron Art Library.

Students, faculty and staff of the Medical, Law and Dental Schools should place requests through the libraries in their schools.

Residents of the state of Indiana must contact their local public library for assistance with interlibrary loan requests.

University Library Indianapolis also provides interlibrary loan services for Martin University.<>

Can I get my textbooks through Interlibrary Loan?

University Library Indianapolis patrons are welcome to request textbooks through Interlibrary Loan. However, please note that becuase these titles are less commonly held by libraries and are often checked out or placed on reserve, our success rate is lower than for non-textbook titles. Also, because the due date is set by the lending library it may not line up with your academic needs (and ILL items are subject to recall by the provider).

What services are offered to distance education students?

Interlibrary loan requests can be made by authenticated IU Indianapolis users over the web from anywhere. Delivery of most journal articles can be done over the web with e-mail notification of arrival. At the current time, the library does not have a system for direct delivery of books to patrons. Therefore, distance education students should request loans of materials from their local public library if they are unable to pick up materials at the Library or Herron Art Library.

Is there a limit on how many items I can request through Interlibrary Loan?

Yes. As of November 1, 2007, the number of requests placed through Interlibrary Loan is subject to the same limits on borrowing materials from University Library Indianapolis. These limits include all active requests (e.g. awaiting processing, request sent, checked out, delivered to web). The limits are:

  • Faculty: 400 items, including 20 A/V items
  • Graduate Students & Staff: 125 items, including 10 A/V items
  • Undergraduate Students: 50 items, including 10 A/V items
  • How do I get something owned by another IU Library?

    Photocopies of journal articles

    • IU Indianapolis Campus Libraries: University Library patrons are welcome to visit the Medical, Law, Dental, and Herron libraries and make photocopies. We will not place interlibrary loan requests for photocopies if the item is available at these libraries.
    • All Other IU Libraries: Please place an interlibrary loan request for copies of journal articles held at any IU library not located on the IU Indianapolis campus.


    IU Indianapolis faculty, staff, and students can get books from IU Indianapolis campus libraries by going to the owning library or through the Request Delivery feature in IUCAT. Books from most other IU libraries can be obtained through the Request Delivery feature in IUCAT. Exceptions are listed below.

    • The following libraries do no participate in Request Delivery. Please place an interlibrary loan request to obtain materials owned by any of these libraries.
      • IUB Kinsey Library (B-KINSEY)
      • Lilly Library (B-LILLY)
      • CEDIR Library (B-CeDIR)
      • Archives of Traditional Music Library (B-ATM)
      • Cyclotron Library (B-CYCLOTRN)
      • University Archives Library (B-ARCHIVES)
      • Bloomington Residence Hall Libraries (BH-xxxxxxx)
    • Ruth Lilly Law Library: Very few of the materials in the Ruth Lilly Law Library circulate. Those that do circulate can only be checked out by law faculty, law students, IU Indianapolis graduate students. IU Indianapolis faculty and graduate students can obtain books in person or through the Request Delivery feature in IUCAT. IU Indianapolis undergraduates and staff must place interlibrary loan requests for books held at the Law Library.

    For more information on Request Delivery, please visit

    What do I do if a book I want is checked out from University Library Indianapolis?

    If there are no other IU libraries that own an item and it is checked out at University Library Indianapolis, you may place an Interlibrary Loan request.

    Books that are lost or cannot be located after an initial search by library staff may be requested through Interlibrary Loan. If something is listed as 'lost' or 'missing', it may be requested through Interlibrary Loan. Please put a note to this effect in your request.

    How long will it take to receive my material?

    Requests, whether placed through ILL or Request Delivery, take an average of 7 days to arrive. However, we cannot guarantee delivery time of any item. Please place requests well in advance of when they are needed.

    How can I get my materials faster?

    There are several things you can do to speed the delivery time for your request.

    1. Check IUCAT to be sure the Library does not own the material you are seeking.
      If you need assistance in searching IUCAT, please contact the Reference Desk at 274-0469, via email or chat. We will not process requests for items held by the library. Please see these sections for more information: What do I do if a book I want is checked out from University Library Indianapolis? and What can and cannot be requested through Interlibrary Loan?
    2. Do not use abbreviations for journal titles or conference proceedings unless already abbreviated.
      For example, "J Psy" may not be enough information for us to fill your request. In lieu of the unabbreviated title, the journal's ISSN will also help ILS staff locate the correct journal. Guessing the correct title may cause an even greater delay in processing your request! If you need help to find the full journal title of your citation, please contact the Reference Desk at 274-0469, via email or chat.
      Many databases abbreviate their journals, but have a list of the journal abbreviations they use within the database. The most popular are the Medline journals database and the Cal Tech Library System's list of abbreviations used on ISI Web of Science databases.
    3. Monitor your IU Indianapolis email for communication regarding your requests.
      We will contact you with questions as they arise and inform you when your materials are available for pickup via your official IU Indianapolis email.

    What will this service cost me?

    While the Interlibrary Loan process is a very expensive service for the library to offer, there is no fee for University Library Indianapolis or Herron Art Library patrons to place Interlibrary Loan requests. National studies show that the average interlibrary loan request costs the borrowing and lending libraries $30-$35 in time, labor, copyright fees and materials for each item requested.
    We will spend up to $26 to obtain loans or photocopies from other libraries. If the cost to obtain an item exceeds this amount, we will contact you to inquire if you would like to pay the difference between the actual cost and our $26 limit. Please see the section below concerning our policy for requesting Dissertations.

    How will I know when my material arrives? Where do I pick it up?

    We will contact you at your official IU Indianapolis email address. To forward mail from this address, please consult this site:

    Articles are delivered electronically and will be available through your ILLiad account. Other materials are available for pick up at the circulation desk of either University Library Indianapolis or the Herron School of Art Library depending on the preference indicated in your ILLiad account. Your notification email should indicate where your materials are available for pickup.

    Materials obtained through interlibrary loan cannot be forwarded to another IU campus or any other address. Loans and articles not able to be delivered electronically must be picked up at University Library Indianapolis or Herron School of Art Library.

    What can and cannot be requested through Interlibrary Loan?

    • We will not accept requests for materials held by University Library Indianapolis. Material that is in our collection with circulation restrictions may not be requested. This includes items on reserve or in non-circulating reference collections, special collections, and material in microform format when print format is preferred. Please see the above section concerning items that are owned by the Library but are checked out, lost, or missing.
    • We generally do not accept scan requests for items that are in your possession. This includes items you have borrowed from IU Libraries or interlibrary loan, or that you already own. If you need scans for adaptive/accessibility purposes, please contact
    • We will not accept requests for COURSE PACK MATERIALS used for classes (selections of readings created by a professor for a specific course, and sold in the bookstore). Because these are customized items, they are not held at other libraries.
    • We can accept requests for the following types of materials, but please be aware that they can be very difficult to obtain:
      • Textbooks: We will try to borrow textbooks from other institutions; however, becuase these titles are less commonly held by libraries and are often checked out or placed on reserve, our success rate is lower than for non-textbook titles.
      • Genealogical material. Please consult the Indiana State Library's Genealogy collection first in lieu of requesting Genealogical materials through University Library Indianapolis' Interlibrary Services.
      • A/V materials: including videos, DVDs, CDs, etc.
      • Microforms: microfilm, microfiche, microcard
      • Rare or valuable materials, including pre-1800 imprints
      • Bulky or fragile items
      • Materials with local circulation restrictions, such as reference or reserve items
      • High demand items, such as current best sellers or recently published books
    • Please make your own arrangements for items you know to be held in archives or special collections. These organizations do not typically participate in standard interlibrary loan practices, and often have special requirements for photocopies from their collections. We are unable to deal with these organizations on your behalf.

    Please consult your local public library to acquire leisure or recreational reading materials and popular videos, DVDs, and CDs. Anyone who resides, owns property, teaches, or attends school in Marion County is eligible for a borrower card at the Indianapolis-Marion County Public Library. This includes all IU Indianapolis students, faculty, and staff:

    How do I get a dissertation, thesis or technical report?

    If you are unable to locate an dissertation or thesis in Proquest's Dissertations and Theses database (accessible from the Library's Article Databases page), then submit an interlibrary loan request. We will first attempt to obtain dissertations and theses by requesting from another library. If we are unable to obtain a loan of a dissertation or thesis, we will inform you. At that time, you have the option of ordering a copy of the dissertation from ProQuest UMI's Dissertation Express at your expense. The cost to you is $30 for a PDF and $33 for an unbound hard copy and is yours to keep. These prices are discounted. If you would like to proceed with purchasing a dissertation, payment is due when we place the order with Dissertation Express. We accept payment in cash, check, or Mastercard/Visa.

    Many technical reports (i.e. NTIS, NASA, and other government agencies or departments) are not available through traditional interlibrary loan methods and must also be purchased. We will contact you if we are unable to obtain through loan and inform you of the price to order. Prices may vary.

    If you would like the library to order a copy of a dissertation, thesis, or technical report for our collection, please contact the subject librarian for your department:

    What are the circulation policies for interlibrary loan materials?

    • The lending library determines the due date for ILL materials. Generally, this is from 2 to 6 weeks. The due date is indicated on a paper band covering the front of the volume. Do not remove this band! You may also check on due dates through your ILLiad account through the 'View/Renew Checked Out Items' feature.
    • ILL books are subject to recall at any time. Failure to return a recalled item by the recall due date will result in a minimum of a $25 fine and the suspension of borrowing privileges.
    • Lost materials are subject to a $20 processing fee plus the cost of replacement as determined by the lending library.

    Can I renew my ILL materials?

    Renewals on interlibrary loan materials are strictly at the discretion of the lending library. The number of renewals we anticipate the lender granting will be indicated on your ILL item, but this may change based on the lender's own needs. Additional renewal requests should be made only in unusual circumstances. To request a renewal, please use the 'View/Renew Checked out Items' feature of your ILLiad account. You may also contact or 274-0500.

    How do I request a faculty proxy account?

    If you have student assistants that place interlibrary loan requests for you, please request an ILLiad Proxy Account in lieu of having them place requests with their personal account. An ILLiad Proxy Account can be passed from assistant to assistant and will track all your requests in the same way a personal account does. Plus, you can both be notified of item availability, etc.

    Complete the ILLiad Proxy Account Request Form and submit. The Interlibrary Services department will contact you with the information for your new account. For assistance or questions, please contact or 274-0500.

    If you do not wish for the Proxy to place requests on your behalf, they can still pick up your interlibrary loan items for you:

    1. Choose "Interlibrary Loan" from the Services Menu and log in to Illiad.
    2. Scroll down and click the Change User Information button.
    3. Enter your proxy's full name in the Authorized Users Field.
    4. Click the Submit information button.
    5. Your proxy must present photo ID to pick up interlibrary loan items.

    What does my request's status mean?

    The status of a request indicates where it is in processing.

    • Awaiting Request Processing/Awaiting ACQ Request Processing = ILS staff have not processed your request yet.
    • Request Sent = ILS staff have sent your request out to various lending libraries. We are waiting for one of these libraries to fill your request and send us the material.
    • Awaiting Unfilled Processing = The lending libraries to which your request was sent were unable to fill it. ILS staff will send your request to a new group of lending libraries if possible.

    If you have still have questions about the status of your request, please email the staff at

    What responsibilities do I have as a user?

    • Some materials may be designated as "In Library Use Only" or "No Photocopying" by the lending library. Please help us maintain our good standing with lending libraries by honoring these restrictions.
    • Materials should be returned to the library book drops or circulation desk on or before the due date. If you would like a receipt for the return of your ILL book, please return in person to the circulation desk.
    • Failure to return materials to the same library you picked them up from may result in extended shipping times and overdue fees. As the borrower, you are responsible for any charges incurred.
    • Failure to return materials can result in your library privileges being blocked until you return the items.
    • Refusing to return materials in a timely manner places University Library Indianapolis borrowing privileges with other libraries in jeopardy. This can result in overdue fines from the lending library and may prevent the ILS team from obtaining material for all University Library Indianapolis users.

    Why did the material I requested come from out of state when it's available at Notre Dame or Ball State?

    While we appreciate your efforts to indicate where items may be available, there are times when it is faster and more cost-efficient to obtain an item from one of our out-of-state reciprocating partner libraries. While the material you requested may seem to be available at a school physically close to Indianapolis, the item may not have been on the shelf, they may lack the specific issue needed, or it may have been checked out since you requested it. Interlibrary Services reserves the right to select lenders for all requests.

    Who works in Resource Sharing & Delivery Services?

    Resource Sharing & Delivery Services (RSDS) is the department within University Library Indianapolis that provides resource sharing services, including ILL, and manages the mail room. RSDS provides services to users affiliated with the Library and the Herron School of Art Library. The department consists of 3 full time staff members and 1 librarian. We also depend on a number of IU Indianapolis student workers and the cooperation of staff members within the Library and at the Herron School of Art Library.

    I'm not affiliated with IU Indianapolis. How can I borrow your materials?

    Indiana residents may apply for an IU Libraries Borrower's Card. Please see Circulation's How to Obtain a Borrower Card page for specific information.

    If you are not an Indiana resident, please contact the interlibrary loan office of your local public or academic library. We do not accept interlibrary loan requests from individuals.

    We prefer to accept requests from other libraries through OCLC (our symbol is IUP), but will also accept requests via our Lending Web Page.