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Interlibrary Loan FAQ

Who can use ILL services at Grace Library?

All currently-enrolled Carlow University students and currently-employed faculty and staff are able to request items through Interlibrary Loan.

What kind of materials can I request through ILL?

You can use ILL to request a wide range of materials including physical books, copies of book chapters, journal articles, magazine articles, newspaper articles, DVDs, and more.

Unfortunately, most eBooks are unavailable for lending through ILL due to licensing and copyright restrictions. If you request an eBook, we can change the request to a print copy of the title or request a specific chapter of the book.

Can I request my textbooks through ILL?

No. Requests for items identified as textbooks or other course materials will be cancelled and you will be notified via email. As per our policy, Grace Library does not provide textbooks through ILL. This is standard practice across academic libraries.

Is there a limit on how many items I can order through ILL?

Library users are limited to a total of 12 items checked out at one time—this number can include items on loan through ILL. Article requests are limited to 12 requests per week.

Do I have to pay for items I request through ILL?

Most requests are filled at no charge to the requestor, but there can be exceptions. Examples of items that might include a charge include, but are not limited to, copies from rare books and archival materials or dissertations and theses. Any fees attached to a request will be communicated to and passed on to the borrower. Should this be the case, you will be given the chance to approve and pay or decline and cancel the request.

Any fees charged to the library for copyright fees related to article requests will not be billed to the requestor.

How long does an ILL request usually take?

Processing time can vary depending on the availability of the item requested and the location of the lending library. When requesting materials, please consider that many libraries are closed and unable to process requests over weekends and holidays.

  • Books and other physical materials: Requests for print books usually take 5–10 business days, which includes processing and shipping time. While we do try to request items from local and regional libraries first to cut down on shipping times, it is sometimes necessary to expand that search to include libraries located further away.
  • Articles: Because we use an online document delivery service, most article requests generally take 1–5 business days to process and fill. Keep in mind that it may take longer for a request for rare items.

How will I know when my book is ready for pickup?

You will be notified by email when your book is available for pickup. You will also receive an email notification that the book has recently been checked out to your library account that includes the due date. Please check your spam or junk folder if you do not receive either notification.

To pick up your physical ILL items, visit the Circulation Desk on the third floor of the University Commons. You can stop by any time Monday–Friday, 8:30am–4:30pm. We will hold your ILL material for 5 days, after which it will be sent back. If those times do not work for you, please email us at to set up alternate arrangements.

How will I know if my article request has been fulfilled?

When your article request has been fulfilled, you will receive an email that includes a URL to our online document delivery service and a password specific to your request. When you enter in the password, you will be able to download a PDF of the article. The link and password in the email are valid for 30 days or five views, whichever comes first.

If the lending library does not use the online document delivery service, you may receive the PDF as an attachment to an email from

When is my book due, and can I renew it if I need more time?

Due dates for Interlibrary Loan materials are determined by the lending library when they agree to send us the item. All of the information you need, including the due date, will be included in the email notifying you that your item is ready for pickup, and will also be on a book band around the front cover of the book.

Renewals for ILL materials are not guaranteed and are often declined. If you would like us to request a renewal for your ILL, please notify us in advance of the due date and we will let you know if the renewal is approved. If it is not approved, you will need to return it to us by the original due date. Items not returned online will be billed to your library account.