Skip to main content

Kirkwood logo

Interlibrary Loan (ILL): ILL F.A.Q. & Policies

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

Find More Resources

Ask a Librarian

Cedar Rapids Campus Library
       Phone: 319-398-5697
       Toll-free 866-452-8504

Iowa City Campus Library
       Phone: 319-887-3613

Contact ILL Staff

Hours: Monday - Friday 9am - 4pm*

Phone: 319-398-5553

*Note: Interlibrary Loan materials can be picked up or returned anytime during normal library hours.

Interlibrary Loan: what it is and when to use it

Q: What is Interlibrary Loan?

A: Interlibrary loan (ILL) is a service that Kirkwood students, faculty and staff can use to receive materials not owned by Kirkwood Community Libraries by requesting them from other libraries from around the country.

Q: When should I use Interlibrary Loan?

A: Use interlibrary loan when you want a specific resources 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 with only a few exceptions:

  1. Textbooks, other required course materials or exam study guides cannot be requested through interlibrary loan.
  2. Most reference material cannot be requested through interlibrary loan. This includes material such as encyclopedias, dictionaries or other multi-volume general information sources.
  3. While you may submit requests for audio visual (AV) material such as DVDs or CDs, many libraries do not circulate these types of items. Therefore, your odds of actually receiving specific AV items through interlibrary loan may be low.


Interlibrary Loan Frequently Asked Questions

Q: How long will it take to receive my materials?

A: Article requests are usually filled within 3 days, but may take as long as 2 weeks for hard to find sources.
Requests for books and other physical materials generally arrive 1-2 weeks after the request was made.
Note that these times are rough estimates and it may take up to 2-3 weeks for physical materials, depending upon item availability and proximity of the lending library to Kirkwood. Providing accurate and complete citation information can help speed up the time it takes for your item(s) to arrive.

Q: Is there a "rush" service?

A: Unfortunately there is no rush service. If you need materials quickly, you are encouraged to contact a reference librarian about finding similar resources available from Kirkwood Library Services.

Q: How many interlibrary loan requests can I make? Is there a limit?

A: You can have up to 12 interlibrary loan items out at any one time. This number is derived from a combination of items held, and items that you have requested that are being sent to you. The interlibrary loan staff will not process new requests until your total number of loans held falls below 12 (i.e. one or more of the items you have checked out is returned). This number only applies to hardcopy items, there is no limit to the number of articles that you may have out. Additionally, you can expect five requests per person per day to be processed, depending on the total volume of requests the interlibrary loan staff receives.

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 visit their catalog here:


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