Interlibrary Loan (ILL)

Folke Bernadotte Memorial Library

09-02-2020 UPDATE: ILL requests for chapters, articles, and other copies are being supplied with minor delays. ILL fulfillment is dependent on access to collections and staffing levels; situations continue to be fluid locally and nationally. Fulfillment is also affected by disruptions and delays in delivery methods. Please note that e-books are not available via ILL. If requesting a loan, plan ahead for a turn around time of 10 business days. In order to avoid overwhelming our partners and systems, there will be a temporary limit of 10 active ILLs per user. If you are interested in contactless pickup for physical loans, please ask. Contact Sonja Timmerman with any questions or concerns. Thank you for your continued patience.

  • Have an ILL you'd like to return?
    • If you have plans to visit campus, use the book drop in the library's foyer (between the two sets of glass doors).
    • If you are unable to visit campus to return materials, contact Sonja Timmerman via email.

Materials not available at Gustavus may be borrowed from other libraries. You can use the WMS Link Resolver or Find It! button from a library database or use the Request from another library link from Discovery (the catalog). Some databases are included in Discovery, so you will see articles interfiled among books and other materials.

You'll be notified by email about the status of your request.

  • Articles are usually sent via a unique link and password; they can also be very easily accessed under My ILL Requests (Requests tab) once you've logged in to your Library Account.
  • Books and other items can be picked up at the Information Desk.

All your ILL requests can be tracked by clicking on the My Library Account link on the library homepage and choosing My ILL Requests from the drop down menu under your name in the upper right-hand corner of the screen.

For more information about ILLs, see the FAQ section below.

For help with any ILL related question, please contact the Interlibrary Loan department at 507.933.7564 or library-ill@gustavus.edu.


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 are encouraged to use the ILL service at their local public library.

Are ILLs free?
Yes! The library absorbs the costs of ILL. We request items from partner institutions 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 business days, while books and other items average about 8 business days. Requests are always processed immediately and ordered from local libraries when possible. No need to worry if you're requesting from the library with the fastest response - we make that determination for you.
**COVID-19 has affected department staffing, availability of collections, and delivery of ILLs in all libraries across the nation. Please note average turnaround times have increased. Plan ahead as far as possible; some items will simply not be available at this time. 

How will I know it's here?
We send you a notification, most likely an email, though you can opt in for text messages (SMS alerts). Articles are usually accessible by a unique link and password or through My ILL Requests (Requests tab) once you've logged in to your Library Account. Books and other items will wait for you in the library.

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 plan to keep ILLs for 2-3 weeks, usually with one renewal.


Can ILL materials be renewed?

Most can but the lending library makes that decision and determines the new due date. Please make your renewal requests close to the due date, but before your ILLs are overdue. You'll get a reminder notice with a convenient link to your account to help you renew, or review My ILL Requests (Requests tab) in your account anytime.


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'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 know for sure. The new due date will appear next to the item under My ILL Requests (Requests tab). Call (507.933.7564) or email if you are still unsure. If the renewal is denied, please return the item promptly. Overdue items can jeopardize our ILL privileges with other libraries.

Where do I return ILL materials?
Books and other items should be returned to the library via the book drop or the Information Desk.

I lost or 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 for students; faculty members can use personal or departmental funds to pay fees depending on the situation. Depending on the item, there may be other options - contact us and we'll investigate for you.

What if I lost the paperwork?
Simply give the ILL item to a staff member at the Information Desk in the library to be sure it gets returned correctly.

Materials not available through ILL
  • Textbooks and other required reading - Libraries that purchase textbooks do so because there is a need for that material in their own community and often won't lend them to us at all. If they are willing to lend them, we promise to honor the due dates set by the lender; often the dates are not long enough to cover an entire semester. Ignoring due dates violates our sharing agreements, and can jeopardize borrowing privileges not just for you, but for all of the Gustavus community. Therefore, we do not recommend relying on ILL to fulfill your required reading list.
  • Gustavus materials that are currently available
  • Some 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
  • Very recently published items or items in constant demand

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

We are also happy to search for popular movies and books, but not all libraries are willing to lend an item that is in high demand. Another option for obtaining popular movies and books is the local public library.


Still have questions?
Call or email the ILL office (507.933.7564 or library-ill@gustavus.edu).