Interlibrary Loan Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

The following provides answers to some of the more frequently asked questions about our Interlibrary Loan services, including what you can borrow, how to request and receive materials, fees and fines, and how to return materials.

What is Interlibrary Loan?

Interlibrary Loan is a Libraries’ subsidized service which supports the scholarly research and curriculum needs of current Penn State faculty, staff and students. ILL supplements the services offered by the University Libraries and should be used when your needs cannot be met with the University Libraries resources. Material received through ILL is by permission of the lending library. Every effort should be taken to be good stewards of the borrowed material. ILL staff process requests daily Monday through Friday. ILL reserves the right to limit the number of requests processed per day for an individual.

Who can use ILL?

Penn State faculty and staff, currently enrolled students, retirees and visiting faculty with a Penn State identification card can use this service. All users must have a My Library Account and be in good standing to register for an ILLiad account. All ILL users must understand and comply with all Penn State Libraries’ policies and must be familiar with the Libraries’ Borrowing Privileges and Lending Code.

What can I borrow through ILL?

We request a variety of materials through ILL. This includes books, copies of journals and newspaper articles, dissertations, microfilm, media, and more. If you’re unsure if we can request an item for you, submit your request and we will let you know if we cannot obtain it for you.

How long will it take for my items to arrive?

Delivery time for ILL items may vary.

  • Articles: Most arrive in 24-48 hours. Some may take longer depending on availability. Articles are delivered electronically to your ILLiad account, and remain available for download for 30 days.
  • Loans: items typically arrive in 1-2 weeks. If borrowed from international libraries, this could take 6-8 weeks, or more. Material will be sent to the pickup location specified in your profile, so be sure to keep your address and pickup location currently in both your ILLiad and My Library Account. University Park faculty and staff can also have items delivered directly to their offices with our Office Delivery service.
Are there limits to how many items I can request through ILL?

There are no ILL request limits. However, you should refrain from submitting a large number of requests at one time. Prioritize your requests and submit them at different times to enable ILL staff to work on your most urgently needed requests first. Plan ahead when requesting materials, as the average time required to obtain materials is two to ten days, sometimes longer depending on format and availability of an item.

Who can use the Office Delivery service?

Office Delivery is currently available for University Park faculty, staff, and graduate students. Circulating material from the Libraries and ILL will be delivered to your departmental address via campus mail. This service is available to faculty, staff, and graduate students who are registered with the Libraries and are in good standing. To ensure proper and efficient delivery of materials, please review your address information in your Library Account and ILLiad account.

How can I change my address or pickup location?

It is important to keep your address and pickup location current in both ILLiad and “My Library Account.” All loans will be sent to the pickup location specified in your profile. To update your address in ILLiad, click “Update Address/User Information” in the Profile area on the left-hand navigational bar. In “My Library Account,” click “Update Address” to update your address.

How will I know when my items are available?

When ILL material is ready for pickup or viewing electronically, you will receive an email notice or text message, depending on the notification settings you have selected. This notice will contain any information you need to know about that particular item, including any restrictions such as “in library use only” or “no photocopying allowed.” Present a valid Penn State ID card at the pickup location you designated in your profile to pick up your materials.

How are due dates determined?

Due dates are set by the lending library. ILL staff work to borrow items from libraries that offer generous loan periods..

How much will I be charged for overdue materials?

You will receive overdue notices when your material is almost due, overdue, and when ILL staff will be placing a bill for lost materials on your Libraries account. Overdue material that is not returned within four weeks of the due date is presumed lost. When this occurs, you will receive an email about the lost material and will be billed on your Library Account for the replacement cost of the item.

My account is blocked. What can I do?

You may be blocked from using ILLiad or placing requests through “I Want It” or E-ZBorrow if you have overdue books or unpaid charges for lost material. If this occurs, contact ILL at for more information.

How can I renew my items?

Remember that ILL items are separate from your Libraries account and those items must be renewed in the ILLiad system. If your items are eligible for renewal, log in to ILLiad, click the transaction number in the Checked out items/renew area, and click the Renew Request link. Items that are eligible for renewal can be renewed only one time for an additional two weeks. Items that are not eligible for renewal will have "No renewals" on the book band. If your item is not eligible for renewal, or is past the due date, contact ILL staff at for assistance.

Will I be charged for ILL services?

University Libraries absorbs the standard costs for the ILL service. In special circumstances where ILL cannot cover the associated costs for obtaining an item, you will be contacted.

I am unable to pick up my ILL items due to temporary impairment. What can I do?

If you are a current Penn State student, or faculty or staff member and are unable to pick up your library material due to a temporary impairment, please use the "Ask a Librarian" button or send a request to ILL staff at for assistance with delivery.

Where can I return my items?

All loaned materials should be returned directly to a University Libraries circulation desk, preferably to the location where you picked up the material. You can also return materials via UPS or US mail to the address below. Please wrap all items securely, as you will be responsible for any damage incurred upon returning.

Interlibrary Loan
127 Paterno Library, Curtin Rd.
University Park, PA 16802

What is ILL Purchase Express?

ILL may purchase a book rather than request it through ILL. Book requests that meet established criteria are ordered from a book vendor within 24 hours. Expected delivery of the book from the vendor is within 6 working days. Once the book is received, it is rush-processed and sent to the pickup location identified in your ILLiad profile. An email is sent to you when the book is available for pickup. You will have the book for the standard loan period, such as semester loan for faculty, staff, and graduate students. The book is then added to the Libraries' permanent collection after the user's loan period.

This service is available to current Penn State faculty, staff and students. You will be notified via email if your book request is a possible purchase and was forwarded to Acquisitions Services. If the book cannot be received within 6 working days from a vendor, the book is requested and supplied through ILL.