Everything You Need to Know About Interlibrary Loan (ILL)

Interlibrary Loan Quick Facts and Quick Facts Chart (PDF, 561 KB)

Interlibrary loan or ILL is a system that enables us to provide materials that we do not own, but borrow from another library. It is a valuable service that supplements our resources. However, because of various limitations it should not be the cornerstone of one’s studies or research and cannot be relied upon when  specific materials are needed to meet a short-term packet due date.

The process works like this:  Students request  materials through the library databases, generally WorldCat or FirstSearch (How To Request Materials via Interlibrary Loan (ILL)).  A librarian enters the requests through a resource sharing system used by a group of libraries who share a reciprocal lending agreement with our library.  They enter a queue (a string of 5 libraries) waiting to be filled.  The amount of time this takes varies from request to request, as it is dependent on how quickly another library responds, and how far down the queue it will be passed until it is filled.

Many of our acquisitions are prompted by student recommendations and requests, which we welcome.  But there will always be publications that do not meet our collection development criteria or can only be obtained through ILL for a number of reasons.  Students are to keep in mind the 30 item limit on their library account which includes all loans and active requests. Loan periods are shortened depending on materials’ time in transit, which is in part depending on the student’s mailing address and distance from the Plainfield campus. We encourage students who live a great distance outside of Vermont, to use a local public or academic library for ILL services, if available.

Things to keep in mind for the process.

  1. Search the Eliot Pratt Library catalog before making any requests as we may have the material in our collection, in print or as an electronic resource or e-book. Electronic resources are readable online and are accessible to everyone.
  2. Search the E-Journal Portal in the Library Databases before requesting any journal articles, as we have a growing number of full-text academic  publications available online.  Full-text articles are immediately available to read or print.
  3. After determining that the needed material is not available in our collection or in full-text through the databases you can go into World Cat/ FirstSearch and do a search.  When ready to request, you will be prompted for information.  Make sure you enter the name used at registration and your 6-digit Goddard ID number along with your current address, and program, etc. This will help speed up the process of getting materials to the right person at the correct address.
  4. Keep track of your requests as there is no way for you to track them in the ILL system once you have submitted them.
  5. Request materials 7-14 days before you need them to allow time for processing. If relevant, keep your packet dates in mind when ordering materials.
  6. Materials obtained through interlibrary loan cannot be renewed.
  7. If a request cannot be filled you will hear from us.  Otherwise, assume your request is being processed and will arrive in due time.  If you have questions about the status of an ILL, you can contact us.
  8. These are short-term loans, usually 2-3 weeks, though this can vary because due dates are set by the lending library.  Expect to ship all items back to the Goddard library at your expense by the due date. We strongly recommend tracking and insurance as students are responsible for materials until they reach our library. They will be checked in and taken off your account before being shipped back to the lending library. Though this happens infrequently, materials are sometimes recalled by the lending library regardless of due date and must be sent back to Goddard when requested.
  9. Interlibrary loan materials can be identified by the paper band around them that gives ILL #, title and due date.  These paper bands read “DO NOT REMOVE THIS BAND!” and should not be removed!  We need the paperwork to stay with the material for speed and ease of return processing.  A return mailing label to the Eliot Pratt Library at Goddard College is taped just inside the front cover.  Materials are always shipped back to Goddard, not the original lending library.
  10. We have limited success in obtaining AV materials, i.e. audio books, videos, dvds and cds through ILL because many libraries in the ILL system do not lend these. When libraries do lend,the loan period is sometimes shorter, with no renewals.  And we do ask that you do not request these formats for personal entertainment.  Your local public library may be able to help with that.
  11. Another factor to keep in mind when requesting ILL items is to note the number of libraries listed as owning libraries. When search results show several records for different editions of the same title, please choose the record that lists the greatest number for Libraries Worldwide.  We generally have little success if that number is under 10 and we do not borrow from libraries outside the U.S.,(but yes–sometimes Canada), due to budgetary and time constraints.
  12. Most dissertations and theses are either non-circulating, or not available from more than one library, and there is usually a charge for the loan.  If you really want to read it, you can probably order a personal copy online for a fee.
  13. Students will be billed for damaged or lost books, or books not shipped back by due dates.  There is a non-refundable processing fee of $20 per item, and a minimum replacement charge of $50 per item (additional charges may apply).  The replacement charge may be refunded if item is returned within 6 months of due date.  When due dates are consistently ignored or material lost or returned damaged, borrowing privileges will be revoked and fines incurred.
  14. It is important for students to check their Goddard email accounts several times a week, as this is how we communicate with you. If we have a question about your address, or a request, and so on, we need to be able to touch base within a short period of time.

We get many requests during and after the residency season and ask that you make requests only on your own behalf and only as they relate to your studies.  It is a labor-intensive and costly process in terms of staff time and shipping so please request only what will be useful to you as a short-term loan. Book reviews, abstracts and tables of content, which are often available in the bibliographic description, can be helpful to determine the relevancy of a  publication to a specific research topic.

Being mindful of these guidelines and being a responsible borrower by returning materials on time and in the condition in which they were lent, will keep us in good standing with our lending libraries.

Everything You Need to Know About Interlibrary Loan (ILL) (PDF, 68 KB)

Revised 12/2009