Interlibrary Loan

Helpful hints and information to make the Interlibrary Loan process easy!

Interlibrary Loan Policies and Process

Who is eligible to use the Interlibrary Loan services at DeWitt Library?
All students, faculty, faculty emeriti and staff are eligible to use Interlibrary Loan. Community patrons are encouraged to use the interlibrary loan services of their local public library.

Online students enrolled in Northwestern’s programs are welcome to use Interlibrary Loan for articles. Online students may also request books to have books in Northwestern’s collection mailed to them. If online students need books from other libraries, they are encouraged to use the interlibrary loan services of their local public library.  

How are fines assessed on overdue Interlibrary Loan items?
Overdue materials are subject to a $10 late fine.Three separate automated overdue notices will be sent. Upon the third notice, the student will be blocked from requesting items through Interlibrary Loan and a hold will be placed on the student’s Northwestern account. Once the fine has been paid and the materials returned in the Interlibrary Loan office, the block and hold will be removed from the accounts.

How will I know when my Interlibrary Loan materials have arrived?
You will receive an automated email from notifying you that the item has arrived.

Where do I pick up my Interlibrary Loan materials?
The circulation desk at the library holds the Interlibrary Loan materials. Tell the worker your name and they will check out your materials.  If you had an article it will be delivered directly to your Interlibrary Loan account.  Log in and click on the transaction number for the article and it will take you to your PDF-formatted article.

Where do I return my Interlibrary Loan materials?
Place them in the book return at the circulation desk or the after-hours dropbox.

How much does Interlibrary Loan cost?
Generally, there are no fees for requesting items through Interlibrary Loan.
If an item can only be obtained from a library that charges a lending fee, you will be contacted as to whether to pay the fee or cancel the request.  Items 3 weeks overdue are subject to a $10 fine. You will be blocked from using Interlibrary Loan and a hold will also be placed on your Northwestern account until either the fine is paid or the book is returned. If an item can only be obtained from a library that charges a lending fee, you will be contacted as to whether to pay that fee or cancel the request.

Are any items hard to find?
While the Interlibrary Loan office tries to get everything you need, some items are more of a challenge to receive.  Typically DVDs, videotapes, dissertations, theses, rare documents, and new materials can be hard to obtain.  Please allow extra time for these types of items.

Is there a limit to the number of requests I can make?
The Interlibrary Loan office will process ten requests per patron per day.  If you need to request more, please contact the Interlibrary Loan Coordinator for special permission.

How long does it take for an item to arrive?
Books: about a week.
Articles: about 1-3 days.
Some items will take longer than others depending on availability at the lending libraries.  Please make sure to leave yourself enough time.

How will I know when my item has arrived?
When an item arrives, you will be notified through an automated email sent from the Interlibrary Loan Office. The email will also let you know about lending restrictions that the item may have.

Where do I pick up and return my items?
Items can be picked up at the circulation desk. They should also be returned at the circulation desk or can be set in the overnight book drop. Articles will be delivered directly to your Interlibrary account.  To retrieve articles, sign in and on the main page look for the box titled Articles Currently Available to View.

How do I request a renewal?
To request a renewal on your material, plesase contact the Interlibrary Loan office. 

Who do I contact if I have problems or questions about Interlibrary Loan?
Contact Rachel Popken @ 707-7237 or e-mail

What can I request from Interlibrary Loan?

What kinds of material can Interlibrary Loan get for me?

Various types of circulating materials are available through Interlibrary Loan including books, book chapters,  journal articles, AV materials, and government documents. The lending library will determine what items they will loan.  Libraries have different policies as to what materials they will lend.

What types of materials are difficult to obtain through Interlibrary Loan?

New books, leisure reading material, rare books, reference materials, and audiovisual items are usually difficult to obtain.

What types of materials are not available through Interlibrary Loan?

DeWitt Library does not process requests for course textbooks. Libraries often do not purchase textbooks, and those that do often do not lend them. We recommend buying or renting your textbooks; if costs are prohibitive, check with your professor about placing a copy on reserves.