Skip to Main Content


Interlibrary Loan Frequently Asked Questions

ILL: Borrowing from Other Libraries

Q: What is ILL?

ILL is InterLibrary Loan. It’s library-to-library interlending so as to better share resources with users. No library in the world can afford to have every item that anyone might ever want. So libraries share items between libraries when something isn't available in one location.


Requesting ILLs

Q: Can I request videos/DVDs?

Yes, but please realize that your chances of success are low. Most libraries do not lend videos, but some do lend DVDs, so it is worth submitting requests for DVDs. If the request is denied by the lending library, we suggest trying your local library.


Q: I live outside of Minnesota, can I request Interlibrary Loans through HamCAT?

Only electronic articles or book chapters can be requested. If you can’t come to Hamline campus, then we cannot get print books for you. We do not ship items to individuals. We suggest using your local library to get these materials.


Q: How long can I borrow something through Interlibrary Loan?

It depends. The library lending the items determines how long you can have them. 


Q: How long does an Interlibrary Loan take to arrive?

It depends. For print books, it usually takes several days and sometimes a week or more. Electronic articles sometimes arrive within 24 hours but occasionally take a few days.


Q: I saw a great book at another library that I need. Can you guarantee that I can borrow it?

An Interlibrary Loan request is not a guarantee. Although Bush Library can request items from other libraries for you, other libraries are not obligated to loan specific items. For example, many academic libraries at colleges and universities do not lend videos, DVDs, print newspapers, items from special collections, or archival materials to other libraries.


Q: Can I borrow my textbooks through Interlibrary Loan?

Most libraries do not acquire textbooks. If they do, they are almost always only for use by the users of that specific library. In general, we reject Interlibrary Loan requests for textbooks because the chances are nil of the request being fulfilled.

Bush Library does not provide textbooks. Interlibrary loan (ILL) requests for textbooks almost always are denied since other academic libraries usually only have textbooks available for short-term RESERVE.

Q: Will you mail books to me?

No, we do not mail books or other physical library items to users, even currently enrolled distance learners or Online Degree Completion (ODC) students. We recommend you visit a public library close to where you reside and submit an Interlibrary Loan (ILL) request there for any items you need.

Other ILL Questions

Q: Why is there a bookstrip on items?

It is crucial to not remove the bookstrip from Interlibrary Loan/ILL items. The bookstrip facilitates proper routing of ILL materials so that they can be properly checked in off of your account when returned. Removal of the bookstrip can compromise the proper tracking of ILL items and in some cases lead to being billed for the replacement of lost items.


Q: My Interlibrary Loan is due, but I still need it. What can I do?

Sometimes Interlibrary loan items cannot be renewed, but it depends. If you ask for the renewal before the book comes due, we will contact the originating library to request a time extension on your behalf. Use HamCAT My Account to check for due dates for Interlibrary Loan items.

If a renewal for checked out ILL material is denied, you can submit another request for the same title and we will try to get another copy for you if possible.


Ways of Getting Assistance

QWhom do I contact if I have problems with or questions about Interlibrary Loan

Please email the Interlibrary Loan Office at  You can also contact the Interlibrary Loan Coordinator or your liaison librarian.