Interlibrary Loan (ILL): FAQ | Log in to ILL


New Pilot Service: Scan & Deliver




What is Interlibrary Loan (ILL)?

Interlibrary loan is a service through which we get information--loans and copies, print and digital--from other libraries. Use ILL anytime you cannot get what you need through CLICS (access to CUNY books) or open access resources. In addition, GC library patrons can use the MaRLI program for direct access to NYU, Columbia and NYPL research libraries.

Back to Top

Who can use ILL at GC?

ILL is offered to Graduate Center students with a current GC library barcode and no outstanding library fines. CUNY doctoral faculty, visiting GC faculty, retired GC faculty, and staff with GC IDs, and GC library barcodes are also welcome to use the service. Non-Graduate Center students, faculty with non-GC barcodes, and non-GC staff are not offered ILL services here. Try instead at your local college or public library.

Back to Top

What can I request through ILL?

You can order any journal article unavailable at the Grad Center in print through ILL. If a book is not available at the Graduate Center (on reserve, checked out, not on shelves) but is at another CUNY library, then you can request it through the CUNY libraries’ CLICS service. And, if a book (or any other item) is not listed in the CUNY catalog, then you can order it through ILL.

Back to Top

How long does ILL take?

Many ILL books arrive within a week, and many electronically-delivered articles take less than 24 hours. However, delivery time depends on which library is lending the item, so it can vary. You can log in to your ILL account to track your requests. Please contact us at if your request takes longer than you expect.

If you need an item right away, and it is owned by NYU, Columbia or NYPL research libraries, you can apply for a MaRLI card and check it out directly from those libraries.

Back to Top

How do I renew ILL items?

Log in to your ILL account, then scroll down to click on the View/Renew Checked Out Items button. We will check with the lending library to see if they'll permit your renewal. Most libraries agree to ILL renewals, but sometimes we will inform you subsequently that your renewal request is denied. If the lending library denies a renewal, please return it quickly. You can request the title again from another library. If you need to renew any item more than once, or after it is overdue, please contact us at

Back to Top

Will ILL cost anything?

The Graduate Center receives a large majority of ILL items free of charge. However, some libraries do charge for loans. As long as the ILL budget allows, we will pay these fees but if we cannot we will let you know the cost so that you can decide whether to pay for it or cancel the request.

Back to Top

How many ILL requests may I make?

Graduate Center students may have 20 ILL requests active at any time, including books currently in your possession, as well as other books and articles in process. Once an article or book chapter is delivered to you in PDF format, it does not count against the 20-item limit. Graduate Center faculty may have an unlimited number of requests active at any time.

Back to Top

How do I know when my ILL request has arrived?

You will receive an email you when your item arrives. You may also log in to your ILL account to check the status of your requests. Non-electronic items are held for you to pick up at the GC Library Circulation Desk. When articles and books chapters are delivered in PDF format, you can find them in your ILL account. Please update your email address in your ILL account as necessary.

Back to Top

How do I get the quickest ILL turnaround?

To speed your ILL book (and other loan) requests, please make requests from the WorldCat database. Look for the record with the most libraries holding the item. Click on the title, then click Find-it At CUNY. If you see CUNY may have a Copy, click on the link to make a CLICS request. If it says "We do not appear to own this material at CUNY", click on Request item via Interlibrary Loan. Provide your GC network username and password to log in to your ILL account. The first time you make a request during any session, you will need to go back to the Find-it page and click on Request item via Interlibrary Loan again to have WorldCat fill in the rest of the necessary bibliographic information. (You won't have to repeat for subsequent requests in the session though.) Once the request form is filled out, click on Submit Request. If you cannot locate a book you want in WorldCat, however, just fill out an ILL request form manually and our expert searchers will look for it further.

To get the fastest turnaround on periodical articles, the system needs the ISSN. This is usually automatically filled in when you request periodical articles from our periodical databases using the FindIt! button. Just click on Request item via Interlibrary Loan and provide your GC network username and password when prompted. For the first time you make a request during any session, you will need to go back to the Find-it page and click on Request item via Interlibrary Loan again to have WorldCat fill in the rest of the bibliographic information. Click on Submit Request. Or, if you cannot locate an item you want in a database, fill out an ILL request form manually.

Back to Top

How do I create an ILL account?

Your ILL username and password will be the same as your Graduate Center network account. When you log in to ILL for the first time, you will be presented with the registration screen. Please fill it in completely. After submitting your information on that page you will be able to place ILL requests. If you forget your password, please contact the IT department to resolve the issue.

Back to Top

What security precautions should I take using ILL?

As with any online function, Web browsers cache information and create a history file on the local workstation. This allows a subsequent user of the workstation to access the system under your name using the browser's Back button to recall it or find a page with your personal information in the browser's history file. To avoid this, please log out of your ILL account when you have finished using it. Also, always exit from a Web browser before leaving a public workstation. This prevents others from using the Back button to get to the pages you were using. The History view buttons have been removed from Library workstations to discourage others from viewing that cache.

Back to Top

How long are PDF files available on the ILL server?

Most journal article and book chapters are delivered to you in electronic PDF format (Adobe's Portable Document Format). Download Acrobat Reader if you don't already have it in order to read and print these files. You will receive an email when your ILL request is available. The email instructs you to link to the PDF version of your request through your ILL account. Log in, and under Electronically Received Articles, click on the transaction number to see the file. Copies are available for 30 days only. If you want to delete them sooner you can, but if you change your mind and want to see them again, they can only be restored within those 30 days.

Back to Top

Why am I not receiving ILL email?

We recommend that you use your Grad Center email account to receive ILL email notices. Non-GC email accounts might block our system-generated emails to you, preventing you from receiving notices about ILL books and articles. You can always update your email address yourself through your ILL account or let us know at

Back to Top

How should I handle loans with more than one volume?

If you borrowed an item with multiple pieces, please return all the volumes to Interlibrary Loan together. We are required to return them all together to the library that lent them to us.

Back to Top

Can I return ILL items at another CUNY library?

No. Books borrowed through the Interlibrary Loan service at the Graduate Center must be returned at the Graduate Center library. If you also use Interlibrary Loan at other CUNY schools, items borrowed through those Interlibrary Loan services should be returned at the library from which you requested and checked out the item.

Back to Top

What is Scan & Deliver?

Scan & Deliver is a pilot program (May 15-August 15 2014) wherein we will "scan and deliver" information that we have available here in print form and send you an electronic link to it so that you can access it wherever you may be.

Just make these requests the same way you would make an interlibrary loan request. If you know we have the material, just add that information in the notes field.

We can copy articles, as well as book chapters, but not more than one chapter of any one book because of copyright guidelines.

We hope that this service will be a great help to everyone and that we can continue to staff it when the semester begins and requests for interlibrary loans increase. Please send all questions and comments to us at

Back to Top

Who do I contact if I have questions about ILL?

Please contact us at

Back to Top