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Interlibrary Loan: About Interlibrary Loan

This guide will introduce you to Interlibrary loan (ILL), which is a service that allows one library to borrow materials that are owned by another library. It is intended to provide materials for scholarly research and to supplement classroom learning.


Having trouble finding books, videos, and other materials in the WIU Westcat catalog? Can't get the full text version of a database article?

The Interlibrary Loan (ILL) unit works with other libraries worldwide to acquire (for WIU faculty, staff, and students) items not found on Western Illinois University Library shelves. Requests can be made through: 

  • I-Share (to search libraries all around Illinois) or
  • ILLiad (to find books and articles from libraries across the country). 

The ILL Process

Interlibrary loan is a process. To get the best result, follow these 3 steps.

1) Check the library catalog and databases first. Check the library catalog for books. Check the databases  for articles

2) If you still can't find items from WIU resources, use I-Share. I-Share is only to request books and videos NOT articles..

3) If you still can't find items on I-Share, use Illiad. Illiad is to request articles, as well as books and videos not in I-Share..

How to use interlibrary loan

students at desk

Interlibrary loan is free to faculty, students, and staff!

  • There are no charges for items returned on time and in good condition. However, there are charges applied for overdue or damaged items.
  • Damage includes highlighting, writing, food/beverage stains, torn pages or broken spines.

What can I borrow?

  • books
  • movies
  • music

Please keep in mind that while you may request materials, some items are difficult to obtain. This includes, but is not limited to: software, audio/visual materials, books published prior to 1900, dissertations, maps, reference books, standardized tests and manuals.

When will I get my stuff?

  • Books requested through interlibrary loan can take 5-14 days to arrive, depending on availability and delivery methods
  • Articles usually arrive in 3-10 days, depending on whether the file is in an electronic format or photocopied and mailed.

Where can I pick up items?

You should pick up your interlibrary loan materials at the Access Services Main Desk at the WIU Macomb Campus or the WIU-Quad Cities Library for QC users. If you do not know where to pick up the material, or if you need to change the pickup location, contact the Interlibrary Loan department or other library staff. 

You will receive an email when the items are available for pickup.

How do I return items?

All interlibrary loan items should be returned to the Circulation Desk, book drop, or at the any one of the University Library locations.

ILL services for Distance learners

book stack

Services for Distance learners

The University Library's Interlibrary Loan (ILL) unit provides a variety of services to help distance learners gain access to books, articles, and other resources.

You are eligible for Distance Education Services if:

  • You are a current employee of WIU
  • Retired faculty and staff of WIU
  • Active students enrolled at WIU who reside over 40 miles from WIU-Macomb or WIU Quad-Cities campus libraries

Inactive graduate students who need to finish their research project should contact Interlibrary loan for further information.

How will I get my stuff?

  • Books ordered through ILLiad will be mailed to you.
  • Article photocopies will be e-mailed to your ILLiad account.
  • Books ordered through I-Share should be picked up at the library chosen by the user in the "Choose pick-up library".