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Interlibrary Loan (ILL) FAQ

Who may use ILL?

Oberlin College students, faculty, staff, faculty and staff spouses, and people who live or work in Oberlin are eligible to use the ILL service, provided they first become registered borrowers.

How long does it take?

You should plan ahead and allow two to three weeks for obtaining material you request through Interlibrary Loan. Although we can often get material more quickly, you should not depend on having it sooner than this.

We will make every attempt to obtain a copy of the requested item. Sometimes it is difficult to borrow certain categories of material, such as reference books, AV materials, very new books, or very old or fragile materials. We may also be unable to locate the item at any library. If we must make repeated requests, or if we cannot obtain the material you requested, we will notify you.

How much does it cost?

There is no fee for routine requests made by Oberlin College students, staff, faculty, affiliated scholars or members of Friends of the Oberlin College Libraries.

Patrons who are not affiliated with Oberlin College may be charged a fee for each interlibrary loan request. Fees are determined by the lender and can range from $3 to $50 per item. Library staff will contact borrowers for authorization before ordering materials with fees exceeding $10.

Interlibrary Loan charges are non-refundable.

Patrons are advised to verify carefully that an item isn't available at Oberlin before submitting a request (search OBIS).

How will I be notified?

You will be notified by e-mail when the item you requested arrives. You may then pick up books, microfilm, etc., at the Circulation Desk in the Main Library. Articles may arrive in paper format or electronically. Links to the electronic copies in pdf format will be provided in the e-mail notification. You can choose to have printed photocopies held at the Circulation Desk for pick up or mailed to your campus address.

How long may I keep the material?

The lending library sets the loan period for their materials and also decides under what conditions they will be used. This may mean that you will be allowed to use the materials in the Main Library only, especially if it is old or fragile.

May I renew ILL materials?

The renewal policy is set by the lending library. If an item is renewable, you may request an extension through your ILL Account prior to the due date. Renewals are granted or denied by the lending library, not by Oberlin College staff. You may keep the materials until you receive a response to your renewal request.

Will I be charged overdue fines?

Libraries all over the world participate in ILL in a cooperative effort to provide needed materials to researchers. We jeopardize our borrowing privileges with lending libraries when materials are not returned on time. All borrowers, including faculty, will be fined $5.00 per item when books becomes one week overdue (unless there is a pending renewal request). If you do not return the book after subsequent warnings, you will be billed for the cost of the book's replacement and possibly other fees levied by the lending library.

What if I need the entire volume of a periodical?

Although it is usually easy for us to obtain photocopies of specific articles, most libraries do not lend entire issues or volumes of periodicals. We will try to request them but cannot guarantee success.

What is the policy on Masters Theses and PhD Dissertations?

List your citation as completely as possible on the request form, giving a source of reference if possible. We will do everything we can to borrow a copy of the thesis or dissertation for you. Many libraries do not loan these materials, however, in which case we will provide you with information about how to purchase a copy of the item through University Microfilms International, if you wish to do so.

I have some more questions. Who should I contact?

If you have questions about ILL services, or want to check on the status of a request, contact Diane Lee in the ILL office.

Last updated:
August 15, 2018
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