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Interlibrary Loan

Interlibrary Loan Basics

Interlibrary loan (ILL) refers to the sharing of resources between libraries.

All current Macalester College students, staff, and faculty may request physical items, such as books or DVDs, for on-campus library pickup. 

Scans of articles or book chapters held in other libraries can also be requested and delivered electronically.

Please be sure to return the ILL paperwork that came with the ILL item when dropping off your ILL book, DVD, or CD. The paperwork not only ensures that we check the item in correctly but also aids the lending library.

Log into your Interlibrary Loan Account


Interlibrary Loan can be used to get many different resources we do not have here at the Macalester Library. Some of these items will be physical resources, like books or films, that get delivered directly here, while others will be delivered electronically.

Here is a list of some of the types of resources available to request:

There are some types of items that cannot be sent through ILL:

  • Electronic books (ebooks) and media
  • Whole issues or volumes of periodicals
  • Recent or un-microfilmed newspapers
  • Reference or rare books
  • Maps

There are also some types of resources that, while available to request, are frequently denied by lending libraries for a number of different reasons. That doesn't mean you absolutely won't get the items, only that there is a chance the request will get canceled. These items include:

  • Textbooks 
  • Newly published materials
  • Dissertations 
  • Psyc Measurements

The time it will take you to receive your Interlibrary Loan request depends on lots of different factors, including the general availability of the requested resource and where the item is coming from. Here are some things to keep in mind:

  • The average turnaround time is 6 days for books but often less as the majority of items are available from libraries within the Twin Cities
  • Please allow us enough time to process your request
  • You will be notified as soon as your item as arrived and is available for pickup at the library service desk
  • Electronic articles will be delivered directly to your ILLiad account


If you want to check on the status of an ILL request, please log in to your ILL account to view outstanding requests. Please DO NOT refresh this page as doing so will create a duplicate ILL request. Duplicate requests create unnecessary work for ILL staff here and at lending libraries and could result in our library being charged more fees from lending libraries.

How do due dates work with Interlibrary Loan items?

Macalester relies on libraries across the state of Minnesota and around the world to share their materials with us.  It is very important to maintain a good relationship with these libraries. Thank you for respecting the due dates on your ILL materials. Return books and other physical items, along with their paperwork, to the service desk in the library.

There are typically no overdue fines associated with ILL items however, any library that we borrow from has the right to bill Macalester College for items kept passed their due dates. If we are billed for this reason, you will be billed for this amount.  Long overdue items will be considered lost and you will be billed. This amount is generally $100 or more.

What should I do if I want to renew my ILL item?

Loan periods for books, DVDs, and CDs are determined by the lending library. Sometimes, you might need the item for longer than the original loan period. In those cases, you can submit a request to renew the item. Please note, that lending libraries also decide whether or not you are able to renew an item and some libraries do not allow renewals at all. 

To request a renewal, log into your ILLiad account. 

  • Click on Checked Out Items under View in the left column of screen.
  • Click on Renew Request.  This will send a renewal request to the lending library.

After the renewal is submitted, you will be given a brief three-day extension while we wait for a response from the lending library.  
Once the lending library has approved or not approved the request, you will receive an updated email message with the final due date.

Items may only be renewed on or before their due date.

If you wish to renew an item a second time or have any trouble renewing an item, please contact Connie Karlen at

Why can't I request e-Books through Interlibrary Loan?

Most libraries cannot lend ebooks through ILL because of electronic rights management (ERM) and licensing restrictions. If we receive an ILL request for an ebook we will update the request form and search for a print copy. That being said, there are a number of smaller publishers that we are able to get access to full e-Books through:

  • ARTFL Project / University of Chicago (ARTFL Project database)
  • Brill ebooks (Brill Evidence Based Acquisition (EBA) Discovery ebooks)
  • CNKI eBooks
  • Duke University Press
  • Geological Society of America (GSA Special Papers; GSA e-Book Pkg: Memoirs, Field Guides, Reviews in Engineering Geology)
  • IEEE - IBM Archive (eJournal)
  • Portland Press
  • Springer Publishing Company Connect (ejournals)
  • Taylor & Francis (T&F e-books; CRCnetBASE CRC Press)
  • University of Michigan Press (eBook Collection)


I'm studying abroad and need help finding and accessing resources. What should I do?

We can help. Send your question to Ask Us, and we will work with you to find the best solution to get you the research resources that you need. You may also use your interlibrary loan account to request a chapter from a book that is only available in print in the library.

When can I get a dissertation through Interlibrary Loan?

Dissertations that are not available online can be requested through interlibrary loan. Please note some dissertations may not be available if the author has not authorized distribution. In addition some libraries may not support open access or have a print copy available to circulate and instead use a service that requires the purchase of dissertations. We will not purchase dissertations for students unless they are needed for honors or capstone projects or the purchase has been pre-approved by one of our research and instruction librarians.

Request an item through ILL

Search for the item using the library's WorldCat Discovery search tool.  If the item is not held at our library, click on Request Item.  (You will be prompted to enter your Mac username and password)  

An ILL form will be populated with information taken from the item record.  Make any necessary changes to the form.  For example- if you will not accept the item in a language other than English, please let us know.  Or if you need a specific edition, please specify  

Click Submit Request when finished and then log off.

Copyright Notice

Warning of Copyright Restrictions

The copyright law of the United States (Title 17, United States Code) governs the making of photocopies or other reproductions of copyrighted materials.

Under certain conditions specified in the law, libraries and archives are authorized to furnish a photocopy or other reproduction. One of these specified conditions is that the photocopy or reproduction is not to be "used for any purpose other than private study, scholarship, or research".  If a user makes a request for, or later uses, a photocopy or reproduction for purposes in excess of "fair use", that user may be liable for copyright infringement.

Macalester College Library reserves the right to refuse to accept a copy request if fulfillment of that request involves violating copyright law.