Interlibrary Loan FAQ

Who can use Interlibrary Loan? expand_more

You can use article and book delivery service if you have currently valid borrowing privileges and you are a:

  • UW-Madison faculty (including emeritus)
  • UW-Madison staff
  • UW-Madison students
  • UW-Madison affiliates
  • UW-Madison other appointments

If you’re not sure of your patron status, see Borrowing Policies.
Faculty may obtain a faculty runner card so someone else can place requests for them.

How much does it cost?expand_more

The UW-Madison Libraries consistently rank at the top among peer institutions with respect to supplementing local collections in order to meet the teaching and research needs of the UW-Madison community.

In order to provide for the needs of a vibrant research university such as ours, the Libraries have developed numerous strategic partnerships with peer institutions that enable us to acquire or borrow journal articles, books, and other materials on behalf of the University’s faculty, staff, and students.

While we are proud to offer article delivery and interlibrary loan services at no cost to our users, we ask that our patrons be mindful of the fact that the provision of these services is not without cost to the Libraries and the University. In fact, the provision of these services is quite expensive. We ask, therefore, that you request only those items that you plan to use directly in the course of your research, teaching, and study.

We are happy to provide for your research, teaching, and study needs, and will do our absolute best to acquire or borrow the materials you need as quickly and efficiently as possible. By being judicious in making your requests, you can help to ensure that the Libraries are able to continue providing these services free of charge.

Are there limits on the service?expand_more

Article and book delivery service supports the instructional, research and scholarly activities of UW-Madison faculty, staff and students.

If the article is available in print on-campus, up to 50 pages will be scanned.  If the article is not available on campus there is no page limit.

Scanning quality may vary because each library scans the material in the easiest and fastest method for their workflow, and in some cases the system reformats the article automatically.  ILL staff has little control over this process. Our aim is to provide complete and legible copies for our patrons, but articles could be scanned in different orientations or two pages to a scanned page. If your article is from an on-campus library and you would like a higher quality scan, please try one of the following options: 1) journals can often be scanned in the library that owns them on one of our free library scanners, 2) have the volume sent to another campus library for viewing, or 3)  Wisconsin Tech Search will scan articles to your specifications for a fee.

Requests for articles that are available in full-text through UW-Madison licensed databases and electronic journals will be cancelled with instructions on how to obtain the article online. Check Citation Search for availability.

Are there items that are difficult to obtain?expand_more

These items are very difficult to borrow from off campus:

  • Technical reports and standards
  • Recently published books (the library may purchase a new book if it falls within the library’s collection policies)
  • Audiovisual materials including videos and CDs
  • Whole volumes or issues of periodicals (copies of individual articles may be requested)
  • Textbooks
  • Materials for class reserve or group use
  • Rare books
  • Genealogical resources
  • Reference materials
  • Computer software and manuals
  • Electronic books

How long will it take to arrive?expand_more

Owned by UW-Madison 1-3 days 1-3 days 1-3 days
Located at the UW-Madison Shelving Facility 1-3 days 1-3 days 1-3 days
Not owned by UW-Madison 3-9 days   3-9 days
Owned by UW System   2-4 days  
Owned by BTAA Libraries (Uborrow)   3-7 days  
Other locations   1-3 weeks  

How do I check the status of my request?expand_more

Articles, Book Chapters:

Book, CD, or Video:

  • Was the item ordered through the Library Catalog or UW System Search?
    • Login to your library account
    • The Pending Requests section shows the status of your requests.
  • Was the item ordered through Interlibrary Loan?

How will I be notified?expand_more

Notices are sent to the email address on file. You may also check the status of your request at any time by logging in to the appropriate account.

How can I change my email address?expand_more

If you need to update your email address, please contact the Circulation Office in Memorial Library at (608) 263-7360, 8 a.m. -4 p.m., Monday – Friday or via email.

How can I obtain a thesis?expand_more

UW-Madison faculty, staff and students can request UW-Madison theses by using the Library Catalog’s Place Requests link. Other theses can be requested using Interlibrary Loan.

Other individuals need to refer to the Dissertations & Theses page.

Can ILL materials be renewed?expand_more

As of 8/23/2018, all ILL materials have an automatic renewal and it is no longer necessary to request renewals. Unfortunately items checked out prior to 8/23/2018 cannot be renewed and need to be returned by the due date on the band.

When can I return ILL materials?expand_more

Interlibrary loan materials may be returned to most campus libraries.  If in doubt, contact the library directly.

Are there overdue fines for ILL material?expand_more

Due dates are set by the lending institution. Because of this, there is a nonrefundable $15 processing fee for any overdue ILL item and your account is blocked until the materials are returned.

What if I have damaged or lost my ILL item?expand_more

Interlibrary loan materials are the property of the lending library. When items are lost or damaged you will be responsible for the fines and/or replacements costs for the material. Costs will differ depending on the lending library’s policy and are often more than our campus $100 lost item fine. It can take awhile for us to get the bill, but we will apply it to your Library Catalog account once received.