Skip to Main Content
Kirkwood Library homepage

Interlibrary Loan (ILL)

A step-by-step guide to using interlibrary loan at Kirkwood.

Frequently Asked Questions About Interlibrary Loan (ILL)

Q: What is interlibrary loan?

A: Interlibrary loan (ILL) is a library service that allows Kirkwood students, faculty and staff to borrow materials from other libraries around the country. Articles are delivered electronically to your email, and books are delivered to the library for you to check out. If you are not a current student or employee, ask your local public library about their ILL service.

Q: How much does interlibrary loan cost?

A: Interlibrary loan is provided free of charge.

Q: When should I use interlibrary loan?

A: Use interlibrary loan when you want an article or book not held by Kirkwood Community College Libraries.

Q: What types of materials are available through interlibrary loan?

A: Generally, any items not held by Kirkwood Community College may be requested, but items are usually books and articles.

The following types of materials may not be requested through ILL:

  1. Textbooks and other required course materials or exam study guides may not be requested. 
  2. E-books may not be borrowed.
  3. Most reference materials, such as encyclopedias and dictionaries may not be borrowed.
  4. DVDs or CDs may be requested, however these often can't be borrowed through ILL.
  5. New books, published less than a year ago, usually can't be borrowed. Contact a reference librarian to request that we purchase new titles. 
Q: How long will it take to receive my ILL request?
  • Article requests usually arrive to your email within 3 days, but may take as long as 2 weeks for rare sources.
  • Books and other physical items arrive in 5 to 10 days on average, but may take up to 3 weeks, depending on item availability and distance from the lending library. 
Q: Is there a "rush" service?
  • Unfortunately there is no rush service. If you need materials quickly, contact a reference librarian for help in finding similar resources available from Kirkwood Library Services.
Q: How many ILL requests can I make? Is there a limit?
  • You can have up to 12 physical ILL items out at any one time. This number includes ILL items checked out and requested. 
  • You may make more requests, but they won't be processed until you return ILL items that are checked out.
  • There is no limit to the number of articles that you may request. However, the library may only process 5 requests per day, per user. 

Interlibrary Loan Policies

Interlibrary Loan Material Usage

Materials received through interlibrary loan are intended for personal use only. It is a violation of copyright law's First Sale Doctrine to make copies of any material obtained through interlibrary loan. This means that interlibrary loaned media (such as DVDs) cannot be copied to our VOD repository, nor can books be photocopied for classroom use or reserves. If you are a faculty member and need classroom material, please use the library's Purchase Request Form or contact a librarian by email at or phone (319) 398-5697 to discuss purchase options.

Interlibrary Loan Charges

Generally, there is no charge for the interlibrary loan service. However, some libraries may charge a lending or copyright fee for certain materials. If you request an item with associated fees, we will contact you to confirm that you are willing to pay any applicable fees.

Returning Interlibrary Loan Material

Electronic and hardcopy articles are yours to keep. All other interlibrary loan materials should be returned to the library or county center where you picked them up. Please return any accompanying paperwork or book straps with your items.

Overdue Interlibrary Loans

You will receive 3 overdue notices. If after the third notice you have not returned the item(s), your interlibrary loan borrowing privileges will be suspended. If the item is still not returned, your Kirkwood Library borrowing privileges may be suspended. Finally, a stop may be placed on your student account until the overdue and/or recalled item is returned.
Please note that late returns of interlibrary loan materials jeopardize Kirkwood's ability to borrow from the libraries who lent us those materials.

Interlibrary Loan Recalls

It may happen that an interlibrary loan item in your possession is recalled. This usually means that a patron from the lending library needs it as well. Recalls due dates replace the original due date of the item and every effort should be made by the borrower (you) to return it as quickly as possible.
Quick return of recalled materials helps Kirkwood Library Services maintain good relationships with other libraries and helps ensure that these libraries will continue to lend us their items.

Local Availability

If material you need is held by a Cedar Rapids Metro Area Library, you can expect to receive your material faster by visiting any of these locations than receiving it through our Interlibrary Loan service. If you would like to check availability at any of these locations, you can search their catalog.


Interlibrary loan requests for renewals cannot be placed once the item becomes overdue. For more information on renewals, see the page here.

Cedar Rapids Campus Library

Benton Hall

6301 Kirkwood Blvd SW, Cedar Rapids, IA


If you need disability-related accommodations in order to use the Library, our website, or our resources, please contact the library at or 319-398-5697.