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Interlibrary Loan: A User's Guide

ILL Details

The best method for discovering and requesting books is the library's online catalog. Simply search for books you would like and click on the title. If the item is not available in the UMass Lowell Libraries, you may click the blue Request box on the right. We will try to obtain the material from another library for you.

The University Libraries also use a system called ILLiad for Interlibrary Loan requests. Use ILLiad when you already know the name of the book or article you would like.

First time ILLiad users will be asked to register for the service by providing contact information and their UMass Lowell ID number. They will choose a username and password with which they will log onto the system in the future. The best choice for username is your UMS number. 

Please allow sufficient time for your request to be processed. The turnaround time ranges from 2 to 14+ business days, but the Interlibrary Loan Department cannot guarantee delivery by a specified date or that a particularly rare item will be available at all.

  • Can I get my textbooks through Interlibrary Loan?
    It is not recommended that students request textbooks through Interlibrary Loan. Current textbooks are usually not available and the loan period is significantly shorter than a semester.
  • Do I have to specify which non-UMass Lowell Library owns the item I want?
    No, the library ILL staff will find which libraries own the item.
  • How will I get my ILL material?
    You will be notified by e-mail when material is ready for pick up at the home library. Most articles will be delivered electronically, but occasionally will require pick up.
  • What does Interlibrary loan cost?
    The libraries currently subsidize almost all costs incurred for borrowing materials. We will cover up to $35.00 per request for undergraduate students and up to $50.00 for graduate students. We make every effort to obtain requested material through trading partners with whom we have reciprocal agreements. This allows us to keep costs down. Occasionally, material may be requested that has significant copyright fees or is very rare. When a patron requests material that incurs a higher cost, the library staff will contact the patron to see if he is willing to pay the amount over the libraries' limits. Payment by cash or check must be made at the O'Leary Library before the request is placed. If the patron does not wish to pay, we will cancel the request. Patrons are responsible for any costs incurred if interlibrary loan items are overdue, lost or damaged.
  • How long does Interlibrary loan take?
    Most requests are filled in 2-14 days. Depending on the availability of the material requested, more time may be necessary. Every effort is made to fulfill all ILL requests, but occasionally some items are too rare or too new to be obtained. Patrons are notified via e-mail if their requests cannot be fulfilled.
  • How long can I keep an Interlibrary loan item?
    Each institution that we borrow from determines its own policy. Most loans are for about 3-4 weeks.
  • Why can't I keep items longer?
    The items obtained through Interlibrary Loan don't belong to the University Libraries. Interlibrary loan items belong to other institutions that set the policies for their material. Interlibrary loan service depends on cooperation. The University Libraries observe other libraries' borrowing policies so that they will continue to share their materials with us.
  • Besides the length of loan, are there any other restrictions?
    Lending institutions may set special conditions such as "No Photocopying," or "IN LIBRARY USE ONLY." They may also recall an item if it is needed by one of their own users.
  • What should I do when I am done with the item?
    On or before the due date, return the item to the library from which it was picked up. Photocopies of journal articles need not be returned.
  • What if I return my ILL item after the due date? What if I lose an item?
    Patrons who damage or lose an ILL item will be required to pay the replacement cost and any processing fees charged by the lending institution and will be blocked from charging materials at the UMass Lowell Libraries.

    If the fees are not paid immediately, the charges will be billed as official university debt, following University Libraries' procedures. Patrons who abuse ILL privileges will be denied them in the future.

Interlibrary Loan: Hours and Addresses

Lydon Library
ILL Department
84 University Avenue
Lowell, MA 01854
Monday - Friday 7:00 a.m. - 3:30 p.m.

O'Leary Library
ILL Department (1st floor)
61 Wilder Street
Lowell, MA 01854
Monday - Friday 8:30 a.m. - 5 p.m.

What May Be Requested

  • Items that are not owned by the UMass Lowell Libraries.

  • Items that are owned by the UMass Lowell Libraries that are declared lost or missing.

  • Items that are owned by the UMass Lowell Libraries that have been checked out to another user.

What May Not Be Requested

  • Items that are listed on the library catalog as "not checked out" or "routed."

  • Materials that are owned by the UMass Lowell Libraries that are available in the Reference Department, Special Collections and Archives, or on reserve.

  • Entire issues or volumes of journals.

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