Interlibrary Loan FAQs


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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.

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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.

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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 GC staff are welcome to use the service, provided they have GC ID cards with GC library barcodes. 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.

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What security precautions should I take using ILL?

When using a public workstation, always log out of your ILL account and exit from the Web browser at the end of your session.

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What can I request through ILL?

You can order any journal article unavailable at the Grad Center through ILL. You can also request any book that is listed as being at another CUNY library, through the CUNY libraries’ CLICS service OR through interlibrary loan OR through the new OneSearch database. The choice is yours! And, if a book (or any other item) is not listed in the CUNY catalog, then you can order it through ILL.

We also have a new service called Scan & Deliver: If the GC Library has a journal or book in print or on microfilm, you can request an article or chapter, and we will scan it and send it to you!

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Can I borrow music or media items through CUNY Libraries?

If you need music scores or any audio-visual material, even if it is owned by another CUNY library and listed in the CUNY catalog, please request the material through ILL rather than the CUNY catalog.

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Can I request a print copy of a book if the library has access to an e-book edition?

Yes, even if the GC/CUNY has access to an e-book, if you prefer a print copy, then you can request it via CLICS or ILL. Please just make a note that this is your preference in the ILL form.

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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.

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What is Scan & Deliver?

Scan & Deliver is a pilot program wherein we "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 and book chapters, but not more than one chapter of any one book or one article of any one journal issue because of copyright guidelines.

We hope that this service will be a great help to everyone and that we can continue to staff it into the future. Please send all questions and comments to us at

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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). When you receive an email that your ILL article is available, follow the emailed link to log in to your ILL account and look for the PDF under Electronically Received Articles. Copies are available for 30 days only, so please download it within that time frame!

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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, you can stop by the Graduate Center library's Reference Desk to ask for a METRO card that will give you on-site access to items in other libraries in the area, including NYU and Columbia. If you regularly need materials from the NYU or Columbia libraries, you can also apply for a MaRLI card that will allow you to check items out directly from those libraries.

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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.

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How do I get the quickest ILL turnaround?

To speed your book (and other loan) requests, please make requests from the WorldCat database. Look for the record with the most libraries holding the item. If any CUNY libraries have it, click on Find-It At CUNY to make a CLICS request. If not, then click on Request item via Interlibrary Loan. Next, log in to your ILL account.

To get the fastest turnaround on periodical articles, request periodical articles from any of 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. Once the request form is filled out, click on Submit Request.

If you cannot locate a book or an article you want, just fill out an ILL request form manually and our expert searchers will look for it further.

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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.

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How do I renew ILL items?

Unless the interlibrary loan label on your item says "NO RENEWALS", you can request one renewal online. To request, log in to your ILL account. Under Checked Out Items, find the item you want to renew and click on the transaction number. Once the request opens, click on the "Renew" button at the top. This will send your request to renew. When the lending library responds to the renewal request, you'll receive an email giving you a new due date if the request is approved, or asking you to bring the item back if the request is denied. If the lending library denies a renewal, please return it quickly. You can request the title again, and we'll borrow another copy for you from another library whenever possible.

If you have already renewed once, or if your item is already overdue, you will not be able to request renewals online. Instead, please contact us at to request that we contact the lending library to try to renew.

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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.

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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.

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Why am I not receiving ILL email?

Make sure that ILL emails are going to an email address that you frequently check. To view or update your email address, log in to ILL . Under Tools in the left-side menu, choose Change Account Information, then see/change your email address in the form. If the email address looks right and you are still not getting ILL emails, check your Spam folder. To prevent ILL emails from going to your Spam folder, add to your Contacts list. .

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Who do I contact if I have questions about ILL?

Please contact us at

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