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Library Services

About Interlibrary Loan

Interlibrary Loan (ILL) is a service that allows users to request that books or journal articles not available at the University Libraries be borrowed from other libraries. This service is offered to registered UMass Lowell faculty, staff, students, and corporate patrons. ILL services are available at both Lydon and O'Leary Libraries

To find books from other libraries, simply search the catalog. You will be simultaneously searching UMass Lowell material as well as the collections of our partner libraries in the Boston Library Consortium (BLC), as well as libraries across the country.  Results are prioritized by availability so the items that can be in your hand most quickly are listed first. Material that you can borrow immediately from the UMass Lowell Libraries will appear at the top of the list. Items in BLC libraries will appear after our own material. Materials in other libraries in Massachusetts are listed next, followed by libraries across the country and beyond.  You will be able to see which group holds an item in the first level of results. It will appear in green text as “Libraries that own this item.”

Placing a Request

If a book is owned by the UMass Lowell Libraries, click on the title to see if it’s available (not checked out), which library it's in and what its call number is.  If you would like to borrow the book, just come into the library retrieve it from the shelves and check it out at the circulation desk. If the book is held at Lydon Library but you want to pick it up at O’Leary Library, you can make that request in our Online Catalog.  Books will usually be delivered within 48 hours. 

If the book you would like is not available here, you can request that we borrow if from another library for you. Simply click on the title. A list of libraries that own the book will appear. If the book is owned by a BLC library, you will see a blue box on the right side that says, “Request this item.”  Click the box to begin your request.  You will be asked to select your library.  UMass Lowell Libraries are usually preselected, but will be shown in the drop down menu if not.  You will then be asked for your “username” and password. (You must be registered for borrowing privileges at the UMass Lowell Libraries.) Your username is usually your UMS number (without the UMS). In some cases your username is the 16 digit number found on your UML ID card. If you have not set a password for your library account, click "Set/reset password" you will receive an email directing you to set your password.  Once you log on, you will able to specify at which library you would like to pick up the requested item(s). You can also add special instructions here.  Click “Continue” to submit the request.  It is helpful to write down your request number. Requests for items are usually filled within a few days if the requested item is available from a Boston Library Consortium institution.

If the item you would like to request is not available at UMass Lowell or from a BLC library, we will request it for you from another library. Such items are usually delivered in about 7-14 days.  You will be notified by e-mail when the book is ready for pick up or if it is not available. To request items from other libraries, click on the blue box that says "Request Item through Interlibrary Loan." You will be prompted to log into ILLiad. 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 username is your UMS number and you are strongly encouraged to use that. When you log into ILLiad from the catalog, you will see the request form already filled in with the item information. Check to make sure that the information is correct including the date after which the material is not needed. Once you are satisfied that the information is accurate, click "submit" at the bottom of the page.

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.