Michigan State University Libraries
Interlibrary Services
366 W. Circle Dr.
East Lansing , MI 48824
United States

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

While we are presenting the most common questions, not every question can be answered in an FAQ. If you do not see the answer to your question, please contact us using the information in the left-hand column.

InterLibrary Services are available for:

  • All MSU affiliates, including MSU retired faculty and staff.
  • Community Borrowers may use the MeLCat service only.
  • Law Library Patrons, please use the MSU Law Library : ILL Service.

All of the services are free of charge to patrons. The MSU Libraries subsidizes any charges that may apply.

By borrowing material from other libraries we can often obtain books, articles, book chapters, microfilm/microfiche, dissertations, audiovisual material and musical scores needed for personal study and research. Some materials simply are not available from other libraries or from publishers, including some out of print materials, rare and fragile pieces, online resources, unique archival items, or materials for which costs become prohibitive.

ILLiad is a software system that MSU Libraries uses to manage your document delivery and interlibrary loan requests. ILLiad is your one-stop shop to create and monitor requests without staff assistance.

  • Only one request per order form will be accepted.
  • The Library reserves the right to limit the number of requests processed to 10 per week to ensure that requests from other users can be processed in a timely manner.
  • Copyright guidelines prohibit the Library from scanning or obtaining more than one article from the same issue of a journal or more than one chapter from a single book for a single patron.

You may request textbooks through interlibrary loan, however, many libraries do not collect textbooks, and many do not lend them so there is no guarantee we can obtain these titles. Please be aware that if a textbook is found for you, the loan period may not cover the entire semester.

There is no guaranteed delivery time in interlibrary loan. We always make effort to use the fastest options available.

Articles and book chapters are typically delivered in 2 business days. Physical items that require travel time are typically delivered in 3 to 14 business days depending on where we are able to borrow them. For example, UBorrow items may arrive in 3-5 business days, MeLCat items may take between 1-2 weeks. Materials that are rarer may take longer to be located and borrowed. Items borrowed from international library may take several weeks.

Articles/chapters will be delivered electronically to your ILLiad account, typically as a PDF file. You will receive an email when the article is ready for viewing. Your request will remain on your account for a period of 21 days. In the event that you accidentally delete an article from your account, email us at lib.ill@msu.edu to see if we can reset it.

You will receive an email when your item has arrived and is ready for pickup. You may retrieve it at the Main Library Circulation desk, or at a branch library if that is your designated pickup location in ILLiad. Faculty and staff members may request office delivery of ILS material via campus mail to their on-campus office. All materials sent to branches or office locations will be checked out to you before they are sent for pick-up. Faculty/staff and students who live off campus may also use our distance delivery services to ship your items via UPS to your home. Please email us if you would like an item sent using office or distance delivery.

ILS items can have different due dates, and these may be different from your MSU items, so check the book wrap for the date. You can also view due dates for interlibrary loan material in your ILLiad account.

If the material is borrowed through MeLCat then it will appear in your MSU Library account.

ILS borrowed items may be returned to any MSU Library drop box (including those at branches) unless the item wrap says otherwise. Those items should be returned directly to a staff member at any MSU Library Circulation desk (including those at branches). Faculty/staff may use campus mail to return items to the Main Library. Distance patrons please refer to 'Returning Items' on the distance delivery services web page.

Please note, Items returned without their book wrap may cause delays to their check in.

Some items are eligible for renewal. For these items a renewal option will appear on the request in your ILLiad account (under 'Checked Out Items') 10 days before the due date. Overdue items are not eligible for renewal. Only one renewal per item is permitted.

Renewals are not automatically granted. Interlibrary Services staff will review and send your request to the lending library. You will be notified if the renewal is successful or denied.


Material borrowed through MeLCat may be eligible for a 3 week renewal, which can be requested separately through your library account.

We do not assess overdue fines for interlibrary loan material. However, after an item becomes more than 2 weeks overdue a replacement bill (at a minimum of $150) is generated on your library account. This bill will block you from library services and may result in a hold on your university account barring you from enrolling in classes; registration; or obtaining a diploma or transcripts.

Returning overdue interlibrary loan material that has been billed will remove the bill from your account.

If an interlibrary loan item is damaged, you may be held liable for the cost of it. If you have a damaged interlibrary loan item please contact the ILS office at lib.ill@msu.edu for further instructions.

If you request an item be delivered to a branch library, on-campus office or distance delivery, borrowed materials are checked out to your account before being sent to the branch or your delivery destination and will remain on your account until the item is returned and received by the library.