Interlibrary Loan

Welcome to  Interlibrary Loan at the UI&U Library!

Library Button -- 3 books on a blue circle.

By (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

Here you will learn:

  • The guidelines for Interlibrary Loan (ILL).
  • How to create an account with which you can place requests for resources that we do not have in our collections.
  • How to place a request and then retrieve an article once it has been electronically delivered to you.

Create an Account or Place a Request


What is Interlibrary Loan?

Interlibrary Loan, usually referred to as ILL, is the process by which libraries (both academic and public) share their resources, but not all libraries participate in this endeavor. Before the internet, ILL was limited to physical materials, and was sometimes a lengthy and expensive process. Now, most filled requests are shipped electronically, and arrive in a very short amount of time.

How do I create an account?

Click the "Create an Account or Place a Request" link and fill out the form.

How many requests can I place?

Undergraduate students can have 10 active requests.
Graduate students, faculty, and staff can have 15 active requests.

A request is considered "active" until the item is delivered.

Is there a cost?

ILL transactions are usually free for all current UI&U students, faculty and staff, except in the case of returning physical books to the UI&U Library. We will ship a book to you for free, but you are responsible for the cost of its return.

What sorts of materials CAN be requested through ILL?

You may request any resources that we do not have direct access to using your UI&U common login at the UI&U Library. Try to find them in OneSearch and Google Scholar@UI&U, and request any titles that you need that are not available in our collections.

  • Articles
  • Book chapters -- no more than 10% of any text
  • Physical materials: Books and microfilm

Note: Dissertations are sometimes sent as microfilm, or even the actual bound copy. If you are not prepared to find a microfilm reader in your area, then please add a note to the request: No Microfilm.

Dissertations that may be borrowed in a microfilm format may also be available for individual student purchase in other formats (such as a PDF) from ProQuest's UMI Dissertation Express.

What materials can NOT be requested through ILL?

Textbooks are not available through ILL – most libraries will not lend them at all, and if they do the time allotted is too limited to be useful to a solid course of study. We try to get as many textbooks as possible in an ebook format, but many are unavailable for institutional purchase.

Certain recently published articles, and pre-published articles – Much new journal content is embargoed for anywhere between two and 18 months. You are welcome to place a request for a new article, but please be aware that it may not be able to be filled.

Multimedia Materials– We are unable to borrow audiobooks and videos.


How do I place a request?

Placing ILL requests is easy!

All of the requests are made and managed within a web-based client called ILLiad (this is a library joke…it was named to be similar to Homer’s Iliad – no help for it!)

Step 1:
The first thing you will need to do will be to create an ILLiad account. It is a one-time process, where you will enter your personal information and the correct mailing address for physical items.

• This information can be changed at any time by selecting “Tools – change user information” on the left navigation bar.
• If your mailing address has changed, please update to the correct address in ILLiad. There is no automatic update of your mailing address through UI&U.

Step 2:
Select the type of request you are making on the left navigation bar. The choices are as follows:

Options for placing ILL requests in ILLiad.

Step 3:

Fill out the form according to as much of the citation information as you can. Each part of the form corresponds to one part the citation. Please enter the authors’ names in the following format:

Writer, Jane A.; Author, James E.

Sometimes an article or book can be found without an author, but it does make the process more difficult, so please fill it out the form as completely as you can.

If you find that you are placing a request without a journal title or article title, please contact a librarian directly and we will do our best to help you to find what you need!

Step 4:
Submit the request.

How long do I have to wait?

This part of the process is up to the individual policy of the lending library (every library chooses a default number of days which they have to make a request), as well as how backlogged they are.

An article, book chapter or dissertation request put through by your ILL staff in the morning may be filled the same day, or it may take up to a week, but the UI&U library has no control over that. It is recommended that you allow up to two weeks for a request to be filled. Because of this timing, ILL is not the best way to get an article at the very last minute, so is a good idea to make ILL requests a little in advance. Students are welcome to place an ILL request at any time, but ILL staff cannot be responsible for any missed deadlines.

Requests for physical materials take longer to process than article requests. Because of this fact, we try to add an ebook to the collection whenever possible, so that more students may benefit from the resource!

How do I return a book?

Once a lending library fills a book request, they then mail the item to the UI&U Library, where it is processed and mailed to you. When you are finished with it, it must then be mailed back to the UI&U Library at:

Union Institute and University Library

440 East McMillan Street

Cincinnati, Ohio 45206

If returning more than one book or a very large book, we recommend that you use a box. Single or smaller books may be returned in a padded envelope. You may want to insure it in case it gets lost in the mail. Use plenty of packing or strapping tape on all packages!

ILL staff will process the book again, and then return it to the lending library.
Sometimes in order to speed up access to the information that you need, ILL staff will research options for local access at a physical library near you, whether academic or public. This can sometimes save a little time. If the absolute best way for a patron to receive a book, however, is through ILL, then that is what we will do!

My request was canceled. What other options do I have?

If your request is canceled, we always give you as much information as possible to explain why. Sometimes they are canceled because we have the item, and we provide you with a link. The resource may be rare, or non-circulating. We will always give you a reason, but please contact us if you are unclear about why it was canceled -- we are happy to explain!

If we give you a link that does not work, let us know and we will make sure that you have access to your resource.

We also suggest checking WorldCat to find out if the resource is available at a library near you. WorldCat enables you to search libraries worldwide, all from your computer.

  1. Access WorldCat at
  2. Enter your search terms. Search by title, ISBN, or keywords.WorldCat Search Box
  3. On the results list, you will see brief bibliographic information about each resource. To find out if a title is available at a local library, select it from the results.
  4. Scroll down to the “Find a copy in the library” section of the page. Enter your zip code in the “Enter your location” field.WorldCat find a copy in the library search
  5. Contact the library to verify the item is available and to inquire about gaining access to the library as a community member.
What happens if a book that I mailed back to the UI&U library gets lost in transit?

We hope this will never happen, but if it does, then you will likely be responsible for the costs associated with any fees assessed by the lending library. Some libraries are more flexible with their lost book policy, but others sometimes charge a very high replacement fee (for instance, $100 plus other processing fees). If you lose a book, your account will probably be charged the lending library’s fee plus a UI&U non-refundable processing fee.

To avoid this problem, we recommend that you use plenty of packing or strapping tape on all packages when shipping books back to us. When shipping multiple books, please use a box instead of a well-sealed envelope.

Can I renew a book?

Lending periods vary widely, from 3 weeks to more than a month. Not every lending library allows their books to be renewed through ILL. We are always happy to ask for a renewal period, but it may or may not be accepted by the lender.

Please renew your book five days before it is due using your ILLiad account, or contact a librarian for assistance.

Who is eligible to use ILL?


Current Union Institute & University students, faculty and staff in good standing are eligible to make ILL requests.* Students residing outside the 48 contiguous states of the U.S. only have access to scanned images or photocopies of articles and book chapters via our interlibrary loan department. For liability reasons, print books and any other physical items borrowed via interlibrary loan may not be mailed to students residing beyond this region.

*Special note about library privileges:
When an item is overdue, it affects our ability to get interlibrary loan materials for other patrons. For this reason, interlibrary loan is a privilege restricted to patrons with a demonstrated record of responsible borrowing activities. In cases when individuals requesting interlibrary loan materials have a past record of consistent lateness in returning any circulating library materials, the library reserves the right to limit the number of interlibrary loan requests that will be processed at any particular time. In extreme cases of flagrant and chronic abuses of established circulation and/or interlibrary loan policies, the library reserves the right to deny access to interlibrary loan services altogether.