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.
- Community Borrowers may use the MeLCat service only.
- An MSU faculty member may request that a research assistant be authorized to submit ILS requests in his/her name via Faculty Authorization account. This policy may be viewed on the Faculty Authorization page.
- 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.
From the holdings of partner libraries, ILS often can 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, e-only resources, unique archival items, or materials for which costs become prohibitive.
You may request textbooks through ILS, however, many libraries do not collect textbooks, and many do not lend them so it is very difficult to obtain these titles. Please be aware that if a textbook is found for you, the loan period may be too short to make this a viable option in lieu of purchase.
You can request dissertations held by other libraries through Interlibrary Loan. Many dissertations are available online, so check these resources before you place your request.
- Proquest Dissertations and Theses provides free access to American dissertations published after 1997, and contains abstracts for many dissertations published since 1980.
- EthOS (Electronic Theses Online Service) provides digital access to dissertations from UK universities. Oxford and Cambridge universities do not participate in this service. Free login and registration is required to search the site.
- Australasian Digital Thesis Program provides access to theses from Australian and New Zealand institutions. Up to 5,000 available for free download.
- Thesis Canada Portal contains abstracts of Canadian theses since 1965; full text versions are available from 1998-2002.
- 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.
Articles and book chapters are typically delivered electronically in 2 business days. Physical items that require travel time are typically delivered in 3 to 14 plus business days – for example, UBorrow items may come 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.
Articles/chapters will be delivered electronically to your ILLiad account, typically as a 300 dpi 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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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 Patron Services Desk, or at a branch library if that is your designated pickup location in ILLiad. All materials sent to branches will be checked out to you before they are sent to the branch location for pick-up. Note: Items borrowed from another institution are not eligible for faculty/staff delivery.
ILS items can have different due dates, and these may be different from your MSU items, so check the bookstrap for the date.
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.
ILS borrowed items may be returned to any 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 Library service desk (including those at branches).
Overdue fees are $2.00 per day per item. Extremely overdue items, damaged or lost material will result in a replacement charge on your account. The minimum charge is $100 and may be more if the replacement cost is higher. Any replacement charge will result in a block on your account. Holds are placed on MSU student enrollment, registration, diplomas, and transcripts at the same time.
If you request an item be delivered to a branch library or if you are a distance user (>50 miles from East Lansing), 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.
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.
UBorrow is an interlibrary loan system developed and maintained by the Big Ten Academic Alliance to better facilitate and expedite the sharing of library materials among universities. Requests placed and fulfilled through UBorrow will have a 16-week loan period (a full semester). Requested items typically arrive in 3-5 business days.
The Michigan eLibrary Catalog (MeLCat) is an interlibrary loan system utilized by the state of Michigan. It is comprised of over 400 Michigan libraries, mostly public libraries, and contains over 1 million resources to choose from. Requested items typically arrive in 1-2 weeks.
WorldCat is the world’s largest network of library holdings information. We utilize WorldCat to connect with libraries across the globe. You can use WorldCat to search for and request rare or specialized content.