Interlibrary Loan (ILL)

Materials not available at Gustavus may be borrowed from other libraries. You can use the Find it! button from a library database, use the Request Item link from the library catalog, or fill out a blank ILL form. For more information about ILLs, see the FAQ section below.

Find it! button (video tutorial)

  • Use a library database to find your material and verify it is not available at Gustavus. Then click on the yellow Find it! button.
  • Under Borrow from Other Libraries, click the appropriate interlibrary loan link, either Journals or Books & Videos.
  • Log in and submit your request.

Request Item Link (video tutorial)  

  • Use the library catalog to find your material and display the record.
  • Click the Request Item link,
  • Log in.
  • Click on the Place an ILL Request link.
  • Click on the Submit Request button.

Blank ILL form (video tutorial)

  • Click on the My Library Account link on the library homepage.
  • Log in.
  • In the right-hand column labeled My Account, click on Book Request or Article Request.
  • Fill out the form as completely as possible and submit.


You'll be notified by email about the status of your request. Articles are usually sent via email attachment or link; books and other items can be picked up at the circulation desk. Check out the FAQ section below for more information.

Having trouble submitting your request? Ask for help at the reference or circulation desk or call the ILL office at x7564.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Our continued interlibrary loan privileges with other institutions depend on compliance with their lending policies and restrictions, careful handling and prompt return of their materials. Your cooperation is appreciated!

Who can use Interlibrary Loan? All current students, faculty and staff of Gustavus have Interlibrary Loan privileges. Courtesy card holders should use the local public library for ILL service.

Are ILLs free? Yes! The library absorbs the costs of ILL. We request items from institutions that don't charge whenever possible and pay reasonable fees where appropriate. If we opt not to pay fees for a request, you can assume the cost yourself. Please talk with a reference librarian or contact the ILL department if you are interested in doing so.

How long does it take?
The time varies depending on a number of factors, so please plan ahead and allow as much time as possible. Articles arrive in an average of 2 to 3 days, while books and other items average about 8 days. Requests are always processed immediately and ordered from local libraries when possible.

How will I know it's here? We send you an email; articles are usually attached or accessible by a link. Books and other items will wait for you at the circulation desk in the library. You can track the status of your ILLs online. Log in using the My Library Account link found on the library homepage and click on the ILL Requests link on the right-hand side of the page. We always email you important updates but here's a few statuses you'll see:

  • Locate Failed No immediate matches found; ILL staff are investigating options.
  • Sent to Supplier We've sent your request to a library that owns the item.
  • Unfilled No success yet, but we're still working on it.
  • Shipped Your item is on its way to Gustavus.
  • Loaned to Library Your item is waiting for you at the circulation desk.
  • Loaned to Patron This item is currently checked out to you.
  • Waiting for Renewal Reply Your renewal request has been sent.
  • Renewal - Accepted Your renewal request was accepted; look for a new due date.
  • Renewal - Rejected Your renewal request was denied; return your ILL material promptly.
  • Overdue Your ILL is overdue; please return material promptly.
  • Returned by Library Item has been sent back to the owning library but has not yet arrived there.
  • Closed ILL transaction is complete.

Detailed explanations of statuses

How long can I keep it? The lending library determines the due date; it varies widely and depends on the format of the item. In general, you can count on borrowing ILLs for approximately 2-3 weeks, usually with one renewal.

A notable exception: the University of Minnesota generously lends print materials for 13 weeks.

Can ILL materials be renewed? Yes, most can; the lending library determines the new due date. Please make your renewal requests before your ILLs are overdue - we'll send you an email reminder.

To request a renewal, click on the My Library Account link on the library homepage. After logging in, click on the ILL Requests link on the right-hand side of the page. Find the items you'd like to renew, check the Select To Renew box, then scroll to the bottom of the screen and click Renew Selected ILLs (watch a video tutorial). You can also contact the ILL office for assistance (x7564).

I got my article and it's missing pages/hard to read/a poor quality scan. What do I do? Contact us right away! We don't usually check individual articles before sending them on to you, but we'll do our best to get it fixed as soon as possible.

I asked for a renewal but haven't received a response. Now what? Keep the item until you get an email from us with a firm "yes" or "no." Call (x7564) or email if you are unsure. If the renewal is denied, make sure the item is returned promptly. Overdue items can jeopardize our ILL privileges with other libraries.

Where do I return ILL materials? You may keep any photocopies. Books and other items should be returned to the circulation desk.

I lost/damaged my interlibrary loan item. What do I owe? The charge for damaged or lost items varies by library and by item (the average cost is about $100). Once the lending library sends us a final price, we send the charge to the Finance Office, where it can be paid through your student account. Depending on the item, there may be other options, too - contact us and we'll investigate for you.

What if I lost the paperwork? Simply give the ILL item directly to library circulation staff to be sure it gets returned correctly. The bookmark with your name on it is to help you track the due date - we don't need that.

Materials not available through ILL

  • Gustavus materials currently available
  • Textbooks
  • Articles published very recently or online ahead of the print issue (i.e., "Epub ahead of print")
  • Genealogy materials
  • Large multi-volume works
  • Entire issues of magazines or journals
  • Items from Reference, Archives or Special Collections
  • Rare books and original manuscripts
  • Popular music CDs**
  • Popular movies**
  • Very newly published items or items in constant demand (see list of titles)**

We are happy to search for dissertations (theses); however, they can be difficult items to obtain without fees. Conference proceedings, presentations and abstracts also present challenges.

**To obtain music CDs, popular movies and books, we recommend using the local public library.

Still have questions? Call or email the ILL office (x7564 or

updated March 14, 2014