Borrowing FAQ

 you have additional questions, please feel free to contact the ILL office.


Placing a request I've Made My Request...
I've Received My Materials... I have a problem...


Am I eligible to use Interlibrary Loan?

University Library Interlibrary Loan (ILL) services are available to faculty, staff, and students at the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor, and to faculty at University of Michigan-Dearborn.

  • Patrons from the Law School are served by a separate Interlibrary Loan office at the Law Library
  • Ann Arbor residents may use Interlibrary Loan at the Ann Arbor District Library.
  • Interlibrary Loan services are not available to
    • visiting scholars (unless invited by a UM-Ann Arbor department)
    • holders of any type of guest card
    • alumni
    • temporary staff
    • other

Return to Contents


How do I place a request?

You may submit your request through the electronic resources listed below:

Please include as much bibliographic information as possible. A complete article citation should include:

  • Journal Name
  • Article Title
  • Author
  • Volume and Issue Number
  • Year
  • Page Numbers
  • ISSN

A complete book citation should include:

  • Title
  • Author/editor
  • Year
  • Publisher
  • ISBN

Return to Contents


What is ILLiad?

ILLiad is the electronic system used to request items through Interlibrary Loan. It also tracks the status of requests, and allows you to request renewals.


Return to Contents


How do I get a dissertation?

University of Michigan dissertations since 1930 are listed in MIRLYN and are available at any UM Library Circulation desk. Non-UM dissertations may be requested through normal Interlibrary Loan borrowing procedures. Please note that most institutions loan only microfilm copies for a limited time period. Please refer to our Methods For Acquiring Dissertations page for more details on other ways for acquiring dissertations.

Return to Contents





Can I request something that is not a book or article?

Books, materials reproduced in microform (microfilm/microfiche) and older volumes of periodicals can usually be borrowed. Photocopies of periodicals or of short sections of books can generally be obtained as well, as long as such requests are in accordance with copyright laws. Items missing from the University Libraries can also be obtained.

Please inform ILL at the time you request an item that is listed as missing or lost. If you have questions about whether an item is owned by a UM library, please refer to the page on how to read Mirlyn Holdings Records.

While some materials can be hard to obtain, go ahead and make a request. Whether we can get an item often depends on the policies of the lending library. Materials that are difficult to obtained include:

  • Periodical volumes less than five years old (try requesting individual articles)
  • Reference books (try requesting individual entries)
  • Audio/visual materials
  • Bulky or fragile items
  • Extremely old books
  • Books on reserve, including textbooks
  • Rare or valuable material such as manuscripts
  • Textbooks

Return to Contents



What if a book is checked out or missing?

If a book owned by the University Library is checked out or missing, you may submit an ILL request. Please include the reason for the request in the notes field (please note: the field is only 256 characters long).

Return to Contents



How much will this cost me?

There is currently no cost to you for normal Interlibrary Loan services. If special circumstances exist, we will contact you to confirm that you are willing to pay any special costs before placing an order for your requested item.


Return to Contents



How can I check out books for my professor?

You will need to set up an Interlibrary Loan proxy account. Even if you have a proxy account for the University of Michigan Library, you will need a separate account for Interlibrary Loan.

A proxy account is a user account that allows one person to check out books and articles for another person. In this way, for example, a research assistant is able to place requests for a faculty member, but the responsibility for the items remains with the faculty member as though they had checked the item out themselves. If you are interested in setting up a proxy account, please see our page on proxy accounts.


Return to Contents



What if a book is on reserve?

If a book is on Reserve it may be requested through ILL. Please keep in mind that these books may be in high demand in other libraries and may not be available.


Return to Contents

How do I place an Urgent Patient Care request?

For cases of a clinical emergency or urgent patient care, you may submit an Urgent Patient Care request for a needed article; ILL staff will do everything possible to have the article ready for you within 2 hours.

To place an Urgent Patient Care request, please follow the steps below:

  1. Place a request in ILLiad at
  2. Choose “Make a request” (found in the column on the left)
  3. Under the “Not available at MLibrary” category, select “Article”
  4. Fill out the complete citation
  5. Put “urgent patient care request” in the notes field
  6. After submitting your request, please make a note of the ILL transaction number and call our office at (734) 764-8584. This is a very important step as it will ensure that our staff can process your request in a timely manner.  Note that if you do not call, your article will not be processed as an Urgent Patient Care request.
  7. You will receive an email notification when the article is ready for you to view.

Return to Contents



Where will my material come from?

ILL maintains special reciprocal relationships with many schools and lending institutions, designed to provide the materials you need as soon as possible. Because items arrive more quickly from these preferred lenders, ILL will use them first whenever possible.

When one of these partner institutions is not an option, ILL tries the next best choice based on a library’s location and lending policies. Please note that not every school that owns a particular item can circulate it immediately. If your materials did not come from the library you expected, we most likely had a reciprocal option to use or the specific lender was unable to supply your item.


Return to Contents



How soon will my material arrive?

Articles :

  • 54% of articles are received on the same day the request was made.
  • 70% of articles are received by the day after.
  • 76% of articles are received within two days.
  • 91% of articles are received within a week.


  • 59% of loans are received within a week.
  • 85% of loans are received within two weeks.

The time it takes for a request to arrive depends on many factors, such as:

  • Age of the item
  • Rarity
  • Condition of item
  • Item may be checked out
  • Item may be non-circulating
  • Item may be missing
  • Location of the item (international loans often take 4-8 weeks to obtain)

Please see How do I place a request? for more detail.


Return to Contents



How will I know my material has arrived?

You will receive an e-mail from ILL letting you know that your material has arrived.


Return to Contents



How will I receive my material?

Loans may be received at the following locations.

  • Campus Delivery: delivery to non-residential campus addresses, gratis 7FAST.

The delivery/pick-up location of your material will be included in the email you receive from ILL letting you know the material has arrived. If you want to change your delivery preference, go to and select User Information.

Articles and other material are received as follows:

  • Copies are delivered electronically through ILLiad.
  • Microfilm/microfiche are held in the Serials & Microforms room on the second floor of the Hatcher Graduate Library. These items are non-circulating and can be viewed on the reader/printers available in the room.

Return to Contents





How do I check on the status of my request?

At the ILLiad Main Menu click on "Outstanding Requests" to see the requests you've placed as well as their current status.


Return to Contents



How do I cancel a request?

You may cancel any request you've submitted by logging into ILLiad and performing the following steps:

  • At the Main Menu, select the Outstanding Requests option
  • From the Outstanding Requests screen, locate the appropriate request and select it by clicking the transaction number in the first column
  • On the Transaction Information screen for that request, simply click the CANCEL button located in the upper-right corner of the screen

Please note: If you erroneously cancel a request, you may resubmit it by selecting the Cancelled Requests option, clicking on the transaction number of the request, and clicking on Resubmit Request. If a request has already been shipped, you cannot cancel it.


Return to Contents



What do the ILLiad Request Statuses mean?

ILLiad uses Request Statuses to inform patrons of the stage their request is in as it moves through the request process. If you're curious as to what a specific Request Status means, please view the Request Status Definitions document for more information.


Return to Contents



Where can I pick up my microform?

You can access your microform at the Serials Room on the 2nd floor of Hatcher North.


Return to Contents



How long will my article be available?

Electronically delivered articles are available for 14 days or 5 viewings, whichever comes first. After that they are automatically deleted from our system and will need to be re-requested.


Return to Contents



How long can I keep my material?

UBorrow items have a 12 week loan period.

Traditional ILL items usually have a 2-4 week loan period.  The loan period for item(s) borrowed through ILL is determined by the lending library.

The item due date and instructions on where to return the item are listed on the book band (click here for information on returning items).


Return to Contents



How can I renew a loan?

Place a renewal request through ILLiad by selecting "Checked Out Items" from beneath View. Click on the blue transaction number of the item you wish to renew. Click on the red "Renew Request" link at the top of the next screen. If you receive any sort of error at all, a renewal may not be possible, or this item must be renewed by phone: 734-764-8584.

Renewal requests can be made only 1-5 days prior to the original due date. If you are unable to renew your item during this time, please contact the Interlibrary Loan office.

Please note: Renewals are granted by the lending library, and depending on restrictions that they set for the item, may be denied.


Return to Contents



Are there any restrictions on use?

Lending libraries determine conditions regarding the use of their materials. Limitations such as "Library Use Only" and "Copying Not Permitted" must be honored by the borrowing institution.


Return to Contents



Where do I return my material?

You can return ILL books to any library drop-box on campus except for the Business Adminstration and Law libraries.

Late return of materials jeopardizes the ability of the University of Michigan to borrow from libraries in the future. Also, please leave the bookbands on the items so they are clearly marked as ILL materials. Do not use campus mail to return ILL materials.


Return to Contents



Why should I talk to a Reference Librarian?

Interlibrary Loan will try everything it can to fill your request. Despite this, we are not always able to find a lender for extremely rare items, or items with complicated citations. When this happens, we suggest that you consult a reference librarian. Reference Librarians have additional training and resources needed for specialized searching. In cases where expertise is required, consulting a reference librarian greatly increases your chances of getting the materials you want.


Return to Contents



Why isn't my microform checked out to me?

Microform is always library use only. Microform that is available at the Hatcher Serials Desk is not checked out directly to you. It will always stay in your "Outstanding Requests" section of the ILLiad website, at the status "Microform at Serials Svcs - Call to Renew."

Microform may be renewed by phone, email, or in person. Renewal via ILLiad is not available for microform, and you will never receive overdue notices for this format. You will receive courtesy notices with instructions on how to renew.


Return to Contents



Why am I blocked?

If you do not return or renew your ILL book loan promptly, ILLiad will place a block on your Interlibrary Loan privileges. You will be prevented from requesting both loans and copies. You will also not be able to place renewal requests, or view the status of your requests. Once the overdue loan has been returned, your privileges will be reinstated.


Return to Contents



Why can't I find my requests under my account in Mirlyn?

Unfortunately, Mirlyn (the University Library catalog) and ILLiad (the interlibrary loan system) do not currently share information. You have an account on MIRLYN for borrowing University-owned books, and a separate account on ILLiad to request ILL books, so you have to check each account separately.


Return to Contents



Why did I get a book if I requested an article? A microfilm instead of a book?

The format of what you receive depends on both the nature of your request and the policies of the lending institution. Libraries will occasionally send entire volumes if an article exceeds copy limits or copyright limitations.

Similarly, libraries will sometimes only allow us to borrow items on microform. This often includes the following:

  • Dissertations
  • Periodicals
  • Older monographs

Interlibrary Loan will try to obtain items in the format requested by the patron, but what we receive ultimately depends on the availability of the item and the policies of the lending library.


Return to Contents



Why did ILL staff cancel my request?

There are several reasons why ILL staff may have cancelled your request. The most common is that the material you need is currently available at the University and therefore not eligible for Interlibrary Loan. When reading a Mirlyn holdings record, please remember that individually listed items do not reflect complete holdings. It is always a good idea to check Mirlyn before placing a request.

Otherwise, your items may be:

  • Non-circulating
  • Not found as cited
  • In use at all available lenders
  • Too new to loan

We will send you an e-mail explaining our reason whenever we have to cancel a request. Please feel free to ask us whenever you have questions.


Return to Contents



How do I change my password?

Your password is stored in the Library Authentication system and can only be changed there. On the authentication screen you saw when accessing ILLiad you can select the "Account Setup Form". From there, you will be able to change your password.


Return to Contents



Why don't I see all of my older requests in my Request History?

ILL policy is to keep information only on last year's requests, plus the current year. ILLiad was implemented in March 2003. If you need information on requests prior to this date, please e-mail the ILL office.


Return to Contents



Who do I contact if I have questions/problems with ILLiad?

Should you have any questions or comments relating to ILLiad, please contact us using one of the following methods:

Email to
Phone: 734-764-8584
In person: 106 Hatcher North, Monday - Friday 8:00am - 5:30pm


Return to Contents


What happens if I lose or damage a book that I've borrowed?

Upon receipt of the borrowed material you are responsible for it.   If you did not receive the material, please check your mailbox, check with your mail room, and your departmental office.  If you still cannot find the item, you must contact our office within 7 days and let us know.  If the book is lost or returned damaged your account may be blocked until replacement payment is made.  

Return to Contents


Page maintained by Ralph Johnson
Last modified: 06/04/2014