FAQ

The Interlibrary Loan unit (ILL) at Iowa State University can borrow a wide variety of materials, including books, articles, audio-visual materials, and microforms. ILL guidelines are set by the American Library Association's Interlibrary Loan Code for the United States (2016) and local policies established by individual libraries.

Some items may be difficult or impossible to obtain through ILL. These include reference books, very new or old books, rare books, computer software, archival or genealogical materials, and certain serial volumes. While ILL will borrow audio-visual materials, please note that ILL does not schedule them for classroom showings. Faculty interested in this type of service should contact staff in the Media Center, who will consider purchasing the needed item for ISU's collection. When in doubt, consult with an ILL staff member.

ILL will borrow materials owned by the ISU Library that are currently checked out. Users with an item checked out from the ISU library who request the same item through ILL will not have such requests processed until the ISU copy of the item is returned.

Course reserve materials are not eligible for ILL service.

Before requesting, check the catalog, the Library might already own it!

For books and other physical items, you could also search WorldCat and click on the Illiad button. If you need help with determining if an item is owned at ISU, use the Ask Us! feature or visit the Parks Library Research Help Desk.

For journal articles, you may also want to check the A-Z list of electronic journals. Most article indexes and databases in the ISU library also provide a "Get It@ISU" button, which will take you to an ILL request screen. If we own the article you want, but it's not available electronically, feel free to submit a request for that item! We scan up to 30 print journal articles for all ISU Library patrons per calendar year as part of our Document Delivery program.

Submit your request through ILLiad, our online order form.

Please provide ILL staff with as much information as possible about items ordered so that they can be successfully obtained. For loans, please provide, at minimum, a complete title. Other information, such as the author, date, publisher, and (if relevant) the edition, is also useful in getting you what you want.

For copies of articles, please include the journal title, volume, date, author(s), article title, and page numbers whenever possible. Unique identifiers, such as ISBN, ISSN, DOI, ERIC, or FAO numbers are also helpful. Any information about where the item was cited can be placed in the Notes field.

There is no formal limit on the number of requests that users may submit, although any patron with a large number of requests (50 or more) should consult with ILL staff before submitting them.

Users will receive an email when their materials are ready for pick up. Users have the following options for receiving physical items:

  • Hold at Parks Library
  • Hold at Veterinary Medicine (Vet Med) Library
  • Mailing

If picking up at either Parks or Vet Med, the requesting patron can appoint someone else to pick up the item and sign for it, but the patron is still responsible for its safe and timely return.

Patrons choosing to have items sent to them have the following options:

  • Address more than 25 miles from Ames -no charge

    ISU students will receive pre-paid FedEx shipping to and from the library with the submission of a street address. All other patrons will receive items via 1st class mail, and will be responsible for returning items at their own cost.

  • Address less than 25 miles from Ames - $5.00 for all patrons.

     

Articles, book chapters, and other short pieces requested through ILL are typically delivered electronically to the user's ILLiad account. Users will be notified by email when the item arrives. Electronic documents are kept for a limited time, so please save them if you would like to refer to them again. When ILL receives a paper copy of an article, it will generally be scanned and provided electronically. If copyright statues prevent scanning, however, users will receive the item via their selected delivery choice for loans (Parks Library, Vet Med Library, or mailed).

Renewal requests may be placed 5 days before an item is due and up to 5 days after it is due. Some libraries do not allow renewals. Libraries may deny renewal requests or recall their materials at any time. Follow these steps to renew materials borrowed from other libraries:

 

  1. Log in to your Illiad account
  2. Select "Checked Out Items" from the left sidebar.
  3. Click on the Transaction Number of the item to be renewed.
  4. Click on the bold red “Renew Request” link at the top of the record.
  5. Please note that the renewal link is available only if the item is renewable, and only for 5 days before to 5 days after the due date.

ILL loan periods are determined by the lending library. The due date is indicated on a pink band placed over the cover of the borrowed item. Libraries may place restrictions on the use of loaned materials, such as requiring that the item remain inside the Library, or that photocopying is prohibited. Restrictions will be indicated on the pink band covering the item. Patrons are expected to abide by these restrictions.

Renewal requests can be placed online (for instructions, see How to Renew Loans).

Books and other returnables obtained through ILL must be returned to Parks Library or the Veterinary Med Library on or before the due date. Overdue fees do apply, so it is important that materials are returned by the due date. Prompt return of borrowed items protects our reputation as an excellent ILL service and ensures that libraries will continue to loan their materials to ISU faculty, staff, and students.

ISU card holders may use the ILL service to borrow books, audio-visual materials, and other returnable formats, as well as copies from the collections of other libraries. ISU patrons may also receive up to 30 articles or book chapters per calendar year scanned from ISU print collections, subject to Fair Use guidelines of U.S. copyright law and licensing restrictions.

Please note that while it is possible to borrow textbooks through ILL, it is not recommended. Borrowed items can be recalled at any time and there is no guarantee of using a textbook for an entire semester. Textbooks on Course Reserve will not be requested.

Articles are generally delivered between 24 to 72 hours.

Books and other borrowed items are generally delivered within 3 to 15 days, depending on each item’s location and the shipping method used by the lending library. Items shipped internationally or that are difficult to obtain may take more time.

Most items are available for free, funded by the ISU Library. You will be asked to approve any charges before they incur, and you have the option to decline the fulfilment of requests requiring payment.

The following forms of payment are accepted:

  • Cash

  • Check

  • Visa / Mastercard / Discover

  • ISU intramural purchase order

  • ISU account (incurs additional $3 billing fee)

     

    ISU card privileges are available to the following:

  • ISU students (ISU card included as part of the registration process)

  • Faculty, professional and scientific (P&S) staff, and merit employees (they may obtain an ISU card through the administrative offices of their departments or colleges)

  • Associates

For additional information, contact the ISU Card Office at 515 294-2727.

ISU Library Visitor card holders may use the ILL service to borrow books, audio-visual materials, and other returnable formats, as well as copies from the collections of other libraries. The borrowing of those materials is free, and is funded by the ISU Library. ISU patrons may also receive up to 30 articles or book chapters per calendar year scanned from ISU print collections, subject to Fair Use copyright restrictions. Requests must fall under the Fair Use guidelines of U.S. copyright law and any licensing restrictions.

Articles are generally delivered between 24 to 72 hours.

Books and other borrowed items are generally delivered within 3 to 15 days, depending on each item’s location and the shipping method used by the lending library. Items shipped internationally or that are difficult to obtain may take more time.

The following forms of payment are accepted:

  • Cash

  • Check

  • Visa / Mastercard / Discover

  • ISU intramural purchase order

  • ISU account (incurs additional $3 billing fee)

Please contact the ISU Circulation Desk for more information on Library Visitor card eligibility and application requirements.

Unaffiliated users are organizations without formal libraries, individuals without an active ISU card or Library Visitor card, and document delivery organizations.

Unaffiliated users may use the ILL service to receive copies of articles scanned from ISU print collections for $15.00 per document up to 20 pages, with an additional $0.10 per page after 20 pages. Copies of articles from the collections of other libraries are available for an additional $10.00, for a total of $25.00. Articles that must be obtained from an international library are available for a flat $35.00 fee. Requests must fall under the Fair Use guidelines of U.S. copyright law and any licensing restrictions.

Articles are generally delivered between 24 to 72 hours.

Please note that we cannot loan books to unaffiliated users. Please contact your local public or academic library to borrow books from other libraries.

Payment is accepted by Visa, Mastercard, and Discover.

In order to sign up for an Unaffiliated User account, go to the ILLiad logon page, and select the “Create an ILLiad ID here” option. You will be notified if you are approved for access and, if denied access, you will be given other options for ordering materials.

Please note that users not affiliated with ISU will be billed for all services provided.

Please visit the Libraries Requesting ISU Materials page for detailed information on costs and how to borrow.