Campus / News / April 16, 2008

Inter-library loan FAQ

What is Inter-Library Loan?

  • Inter-Library Loan is a department found in almost all libraries nationwide. It allows patrons like you to have access to millions of books, journals and media beyond what you can find in your own library.

    What is the cost?

  • There is no cost, even for the copying of articles.

    How long do I keep the loans?

  • It depends on the library, but on average, a month.

    How do I order from Universal Borrower (UB)?

  • Go to

  • Search for your title

  • Click on “I-Share Catalog”

  • Search for your title again

  • Go to “Request” once you have found it

  • Select your home library, enter your Library Borrower ID (using the seven digit bar code on the back of your KNOX ID, disregarding the letters), and your last name

  • Choose “Request first copy available”

  • Fill out the information, and your request will be on its way

    How do I order from ILLiad?

  • Under the category “Obtaining materials from other libraries” on the homepage, click “Use the Knox College interlibrary loan service”.

  • Using your Knox user name and password, login and under “New Request” click on Article, Book, or Audio-Visual Material.

  • Fill out the information about the request; the more the better, because it’ll be easier for the librarians to find them.

    What is the difference?

  • There are advantages and disadvantages to both UB and ILLiad.

    For example, a UB loan takes less time to process because your request goes straight to the requested library instead of being approved by us.

  • UB only uses Illinois libraries, so you’re limited in what you can find.

  • If the library isn’t able to complete the UB request, perhaps because the book is in fragile condition or it’s on reserve, then you don’t have any back-up libraries to choose from like you would with an ILLiad request.

  • You cannot request articles through UB at all.

  • If you’re desperately waiting for a book, it might be a good thing to realize that ILLiad customers will get notified as soon as their book is put on the bookshelf whereas UB customers will get notified the next day.

    How do I check on the status of my loan?


  • Go to

  • Under “Obtaining Materials from Other Libraries” click on “Search 71 Libraries.”


  • Under the same category, click “Use the Knox College interlibrary loan service”

  • Login and click on View  Outstanding Requests

    On average, how many days does it take an inter-library loan to arrive?

  • ILLiad Article – 6.5 days

  • ILLiad Loan, In-State – 6 days

  • ILLiad Loan, Out-of-State – 9 days

  • UB Loans – 4 days

    Why does it take so long?

  • The book, article, or media you request may have to be approved by the library to ensure that it is not available here. On the other hand, we may have to see if your request is even available within the country.

  • If you’re asking for an article, we have to make sure those libraries have the correct year, volume and issue numbers, page numbers, etc. which is why it’s important that your information is correct and thorough.

  • Once it’s approved, it goes to the library to be approved by their staff

  • They may check for things like how often it’s lent out, whether it’s in poor condition, etc.

  • Once it’s approved by them, libraries or students go look for the book

  • At this point, the book could be missing

  • Libraries also prioritize their own patrons above those from other libraries, so if it’s finals week and they just received 100 loans, your request will sit for longer.

  • If you asked for an article, they will copy it now

  • Once it’s found and approved, it has to be processed

  • This could include recording the number of pages (so the library can be correctly charged for the article), checking the due date, and ensuring that the ISBN number is correct

  • Now the paperwork is attached and the due dates stamped

  • It finally gets packaged and goes out in the mail

  • Library loans go special 4th class, so that is where a lot of the waiting comes in

  • Once it arrives, it is unpackaged and processed by the library staff

  • We make sure it is the correct loan

  • We print off the book slips and attach paperwork

  • It is ordered alphabetically on the hold shelf

  • You are finally notified

    Is it better to have my articles sent to my mailbox or held in the library?


  • You don’t have to go to the library, but you might have to wait over the weekend if your article didn’t go out before 2 pm on a Friday

  • If you don’t care when your article arrives, choose to have it sent to your mailbox, because you go there anyway

  • If you want it ASAP, hold your article at the shelf

    Hold Shelf

  • It is guaranteed to be there, whether the mail is picked up or not

    How do I choose where to have my article sent?


  • Login -> Tools -> Change User Information -> Preferred Notification Method
  • You cannot have articles sent through UB

    How much is the fine if my inter-library loan is late?

  • It is $1 a day

    What if I don’t care if it’s late because I have all the money in the world to waste on inter-library loans?

  • The library may refuse to lend to us in the future if our patrons are always late returning their books.

    That means that you and future lenders may have to request from a library in Puerto Rico instead of from the University of Illinois at Chicago.

I hope this FAQ has helped you. Remember that when you pick up your inter-library loan from the hold shelf, there are a lot of people who did a lot of work for you. Enjoy National Library Week!

If you have any questions, comments or suggestions, just e-mail me.

Ashley Atkinson

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