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Interlibrary Loan (ILL) Frequently Asked Questions : ILL FAQ

What can you borrow?

Requests can be placed for items (books, DVDs, CDs, recordings, scores, journal articles, books chapters, dissertations, microfilm, etc.) that are not already a part of the library collection.

The main goal of any ILL program is to support university scholarship and research. However, as part of a Christian liberal arts institution, the SNU Library strives to develop one's whole person. Therefore, we believe that promoting intellectual curiosity and information exploration is part of our mission, which means we will process requests for non-class related materials.

There are no limits on the number of ILL requests that a user can submit, and we process requests in the order they are submitted. However, for users who submit 26+ book requests or 16+ article requests, we will process the first 25 book requests or 15 article requests in the order they are submitted; we will give requests over that amount a lower priority compared to new requests from other users. This is to ensure that we serve the largest number of users in the shortest amount of time.

What are the limitations on borrowing?

We will will not process requests for the following:

  • textbooks for classes in which you are enrolled.
  • material we own that is checked out; instead a user may place a hold on that item.
  • material we own that is on reserve or reference.

Just because another library owns an item does not mean we are able to borrow that item for you. Examples include:

  • Items held by only a limited number of libraries.
  • Audiovisual materials, dissertations, rare books, or newly published material.
  • Items that are only held by international libraries.
  • High demand books.

If you can't borrow what you need, ask a librarian to consider purchasing that book for our collection.

Is there a cost involved?

We are able to obtain most ILL materials for free. However, some libraries charge for access to their materials.

If you want material that we are unable to obtain for free, you will have to pay whatever fees the lending library charges us.

  • If you are willing to pay for an item, indicate so in the Max Cost field on the ILL form. If a library does charge for the material, we will notify you and you will need to pay for the material before you receive it.

  • If your max cost is set to $0.00 and the only way to obtain your material is to pay for the loan, we will email you and ask if you are willing to pay the fee.

We will only borrow material and charge you if we have your permission to do so. Permission is granted either through either the Max Cost field or an email conversation.

What are the fines for late or lost ILLs?

We charge $0.50 per day per book for overdue ILL books.*


If you lose an ILL book, the lending library sets the replacement cost. This will usually include the cost of the book plus a processing fee. A hold will be placed on your account for unpaid fees.


*It is very important that you return materials on time. Failure to do so damages our relationships with other libraries, which means we may be unable to borrow from them in the future.

Who can use InterLibrary Loan services?

·      Current SNU students, staff, faculty, and members of the Academy of Senior Professionals may borrow material via ILL.



  • SNU users with overdue ILL books or library fines exceeding $10 will not be allowed to use ILL services.
  • Community users are not allowed to borrow anything via ILL.

How do I receive and return materials?

In most cases, articles and book chapters will be delivered to you as email attachments; they do not need to be returned or renewed.


Books and other physical materials will be available for pick-up at the checkout desk during regular operating hours. Distance education students: please contact Daniel Chesney ( to discuss your ILL options prior to submitting a book request.  


Due dates are set by the lending libraries and vary according to the lending library's ILL policies. If you need a renewal, contact the ILL Coordinator, Daniel Chesney ( Renewals are not guaranteed; they are subject to the lending library's ILL policies. If you request a renewal we will give an automatic two day extension, in order to give the lending library time to respond.


A lending library can recall its book at any time. If your book is recalled, you will be notified via email and will have 48 hours to return the material to the library before you start accruing fines.

How long does it take to receive material?

Requests are processed once in the morning and once in the afternoon Monday through Friday. You will be notified when your request has been submitted.

Most article requests are filled within three days. However if a library is unresponsive or if an article is not readily available it has been known to take up to two weeks to get the material. We will try to keep you updated throughout the process as much as possible and will email you a PDF of the article as soon as we receive it.

Most book requests take about ten days to fill. It depends mostly on where the book is being sent from. Books shipped within the city can sometimes arrive in two days, whereas other have been known to take up to three weeks to arrive. It is important to request needed books early to accomodate shipping time. You will be notified via email when a book is shipped and when it arrives.

Copyright Notice:

The copyright law of the United States (Title 17, United States Code) governs the making of photocopies or other reproductions of copyrighted materials.

Under certain conditions specified in the law, libraries and archives are authorized to furnish a photocopy or other reproduction. One of those specified conditions is that the photocopy or reproduction is not to be "used for any purpose other than private study, scholarship, or research." If a user requests or  uses a photocopy or other reproduction for purposes in excess of "fair use," that user may be liable for copyright infringement.

The SNU Library reserves the right to refuse to process a copy request if we determine fulfillment of the order would violate copyright law.