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Interlibrary Loan FAQ

What is Interlibrary Loan?

Interlibrary Loan (ILL) is a library-to-library loan service offered by the Porter Henderson Library to eligible users.  The primary purpose of ILL is to assist scholarly research by obtaining materials not available locally.

Who may use ILL?

ILL is available exclusively to current Angelo State University students, faculty, staff, and Friends of the Porter Henderson Library.

How do I request materials?

To submit ILL requests, fill out the appropriate online forms available:

  1. within the FirstSearch, EBSCOhost , and Cambridge Scientific Abstracts databases, or
  2. on the Library web site.

To facilitate processing, ILL requests will be handled in the following order of priority:

  1. Requests submitted via FirstSearch, EBSCOhost, and Cambridge Scientific Abstracts databases;
  2. Requests submitted via the Library’s online forms.

What materials may be requested?

Photocopies of journal, magazine or newspaper articles, published books and government documents. Theses, dissertations, and audiovisual materials can be requested but are sometimes difficult to obtain on loan.

What materials cannot be requested?

Items owned by the Porter Henderson Library, such as:

What happens if I request materials that are available at the Library?

To avoid unnecessary delays in getting your materials, please search RamCat before placing your requests to check the availability of books, print periodicals and online articles.

If the book or journal issue is on the shelf, ILL staff will cancel the request and notify you that the material is available in the Library.  If your article is available full-text in one or more of the Library’s databases, ILL staff will cancel the request, and email you instructions on how to access the electronic resource.

Is there a limit to the number of ILL requests I can submit at once?

Borrowers can submit any number of ILL requests at once; however, ILL library personnel can only guarantee to place five requests per borrower per week through the ILL system.

How much does ILL cost?

Interlibrary loan services are provided free of charge to all authorized borrowers.  Special circumstances exist, though, such as borrowing costs charged by the lending institution, or copyright clearance fees.  You can indicate how much you are willing to pay on your request form, and we will work within your limitations.  If there are additional charges, or the item costs more than what you indicated, ILL staff will contact you before submitting your ILL request, to confirm that you are willing to pay these extra costs.

How long will it take for my ILL materials to arrive?

The average time required to receive an item requested through ILL is 10 working days (approximately two weeks). Some requests can be filled more quickly; others may take much longer.  The actual time it takes to receive requested materials varies from loan to loan. All ILL items are requested from the nearest and fastest source available with some consideration given to cost.  Patrons are encouraged to submit their ILL requests as early as possible to ensure the timely arrival of their materials.

How will I know when the item I requested is in? Where do I pick it up?

ILL staff will notify you of the availability of your item(s) either by phone or email.  You can also check the status of your request(s) at any time by logging into RamCat and viewing your Library Account.

Items on loan must be picked up at the Circulation Desk using a valid (activated) ASU One Card or Friends of the Library card.

Articles are emailed directly to the patron’s ASU email account.

How long will I be able to keep materials I receive through ILL?

The loan period is determined by the lending library, and is indicated on the ILL strap attached to the item.  On average, loan periods range from two to four weeks, but for special materials it may be as little as three days.  Some materials may be restricted to “In-Library use only” by the lending library and may not be checked out for use at home.  Libraries that allow their materials to be renewed will indicate so on the ILL strap, but a renewal should be asked for only when absolutely necessary and only once per item. To request a renewal, come in person, call (325-486-6551) or email the ILL office ( at least three days before your material is due.

Where do I return materials?

Please return ILL materials with their ILL strap intact to the Circulation Desk.  (You may return ILL books to any of the Library book drops at your own risk.)  You are financially responsible for all your ILL materials from the time you pick them up until the time they are returned to the ILL office. If the materials are lost or damaged while in your possession, you must pay any repair, replacement, or processing fees which the lending library charges.

What happens if I return ILL materials late?

ILL borrowers who are late returning their ILL materials are assessed a fine in the amount of $1.00/day per overdue item.

What are my responsibilities as an ILL user?

What are the copyright restrictions for photocopied materials?

The Copyright law of the United States (Title 17, United States Code) governs the making of photocopies or other reproductions of copyrighted material.  There is a provision for “fair use” by libraries known as the CONTU guidelines. These guidelines place two key restrictions on the requesting of articles:

  1. No more than five articles from any one periodical title published in the last five years can be requested in one calendar year. Once that limit has been reached, the ILL office cannot request any more until the following year (not without paying copyright fees)
  2. No more than one article from any one issue of a periodical can be requested at one time.

Your request may be turned down if the copyright fee is excessive or if permission to copy cannot be obtained from the copyright holder.

What are my alternatives to Interlibrary Loan?

The TexShare card program is a reciprocal borrowing program. Registered users must obtain a TexShare Card from their home library before they are able to check out materials from other institutions.  Current Angelo State University students, faculty, and staff may request a TexShare card in person at the Porter Henderson Library circulation desk. Cards are only valid for one semester.  Materials borrowed on a TexShare card are subject to the lending library’s policies and must be returned in person or by first-class mail.  Search for participating TexShare Card libraries on the TSLAC web site.