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Interlibrary Loan

Instructional guide for Interlibrary Loan.

Interlibrary Loan (ILL) Basics

Interlibrary Loan is a service available to MSUM faculty, staff, graduate students, and undergraduate students that allows them to request books, articles, and media from libraries in Minnesota and beyond.

In general, most any item held by a library in the U.S. may be requested. However, some items may be more difficult to obtain than others and may take longer to arrive.

Please plan ahead if you need ILL materials. 

What types of materials can I request through ILL?

Items that ARE generally available from ILL:

  • Books. Both for research and general reading.
  • Copies. Articles from journals and magazines as well as chapters from books.
  • Media such as DVDs, CDs, and VHS tapes.
  • Microfiche and microfilm of dissertations, rare/old books, and newspapers.
  • Dissertations and theses are sometimes available, but can take 7-10 days to arrive. Most newer dissertations are available electronically and can be found on the issuing library's website. In some cases, we can help you to purchase a personal copy if no other options are available.

 Items that ARE NOT generally available from ILL:

  • Textbooks. Interlibrary Loan will NOT request Textbooks. You may request supplementary reading materials.
  • Entire volumes or issues of journals.
  • Rare items [very old books, unpublished manuscripts, etc]. These are often not loaned. They are sometimes reproduced on microfiche/film that can be borrowed. Also, if the complete work is not available, you can request that a portion be copied.
  • Ebooks. EBooks are just beginning to be available from ILL on a very limited basis. Generally, if you request an EBook, ILL will request a PHYSICAL copy of the item for your use. 

If you are looking for a rare or hard-to-find item and are not sure how to request it, please ask our staff for assistance.

We will make every attempt to process your request within 24 hours. ILL Staff works Monday-Friday. Please allow time for processing when requesting materials on the weekends.


Most copies arrive within 24-48 hours after processing by ILL staff. A PDF of your requested material will be sent directly to your MSUM email account.


We request material from libraries within the Tri-State area first whenever possible. These local loan requests can take anywhere from 3-5 working days to arrive. However, items that are coming from outside of MN or ND, may take up to 14 days as they must be sent via US Mail. 

Please plan ahead when ordering books.

Yes. Limits are based on your patron type.

Faculty, Staff, and Students are allowed 100 active requests (Holds/Interlibrary loans) at a time.

Alumni are allowed 20 active Holds/ILL requests at a time.

Community patrons are not eligible to use our Interlibrary Loan Services. They may place Holds on MSUM materials. See the Hold Libguide for further information.

Every ILL request is checked first for availability within our library, including our digital holdings.

If the MSUM Library owns a book(s) you request, we will change your ILL request to a Hold Request and pull the item(s) for you. You will receive an email letting you know when the item is available for pickup. For more information on Holds, see the Holds Libguide.

If the library owns a physical journal title that contains an article you request, we will put a Hold on the journal you need. You will receive an email when the journal is available for pick up at the Circulation Desk. There are scanners and copiers available in the library for your use.

If an article you request is found in an online journal, you will be directed to the Library's "Journals A-Z list".

Finally, if we don't own it, we will request the item from another library for your use. When your item is available, you will receive email notification. When requesting articles, they will be delivered directly to your email as a PDF.

Request through Your Library Account

1. On the Library's homepage, select Interlibrary Loan Requests under "Services."

A screenshot of the MSUM Library website indicating the location of "Interlibrary Loan Requests" under "Services."

2. Select the red "Request a Book, Article, DVD, or CD" button on the next page.

3. Log into your library account using your StarID and password.

4. Fill in the blank form to the best of your ability, making sure that the required lines with a red * are filled in.
The more information provided, the easier it is to find and the quicker it can be sent to you. If you have information that doesn't fit into any of the fields, use the Comment section at the end of the form.

NOTE: If you are a Distance Education student, be sure to include that information in the Comment section of every book request. This will let the ILL department know to mail the request instead of asking you to come pick it up. If your mailing address is different than the one on record with the school, also include that information. NOTE: You will still receive email messages asking you to pick up your library materials. These are sent by the system and are our of our control. You can ignore these messages, or reply to them and remind us to mail your items.

5. Click the "Notice of Copyright" square and click "send request" in the bottom right hand corner of the screen. A successful request will show a green bar with the text "Your request was successful" at the top of the page.

To check on a request after you have sent it, click on your name in the upper right hand corner of the screen (once logged in) and in the drop down menu, select "My Requests." A list of all of your requests will appear with information about where they are in the process of getting to you.

When the request is ready:

Digital Items: you will receive an email at your MSUM email with either a PDF of the item or instructions on how to access your copy.

Physical Items: you will receive an email at your MSUM email letting you know to pick up the book at the library.

Notice of Copyright:

The Copyright Law of the United States (Title 17, United States Code) governs the making of photocopies or other reproductions of copyrighted materials. Under certain conditions specified in the law, Libraries and Archives are authorized to furnish a photocopy or other reproductions. One of these specified conditions is that the photocopy or reproduction is not to be “used for any purpose other than private study, scholarship, or research.” If a user makes a request for, or later uses, a photocopy or reproduction for purposes in excess of “fair use,” that user may be liable for copyright infringement. This institution reserves the right to refuse to accept a copying order if, in its judgment, fulfillment of the order would involve violation of the copyright law.

A note about due dates:
It is important to return ILL loans by their due date. Overdue ILLs can jeopardize our borrowing privileges with other libraries. This can prevent your fellow patrons from receiving the items they need for their research.

Can I renew my ILL(s)?
Yes, unless otherwise noted.

Renewals should be asked for about 3-5 days before an item is due. This allows the Lending Library plenty of time to respond before the loan becomes overdue.

Due dates and renewals are determined by the Lending Library, but the majority of them are willing to renew items 1 time. Most ILL items are loaned out initially for 4 weeks. The renewal period can vary from 2-4 weeks.

You can renew ILL loans directly from your library account. Log in to your library account and find the title of the loan(s) you wish to renew under My Loans. If there is more than one item, use the check boxes to select all items you wish to renew. Then click on "Renew Selected."

Log back in to your library account in 1-3 days to see if your ILL(s) have been renewed. A new due date will appear by items that have been renewed. In case an item is not renewed, you should receive an email letting you know that the item is due by the original due date.

If you still need an item that has not renewed, you may reorder the item from ILL and we will do our best to obtain it from another library.

You can also call (477-2924), email (, or visit the ILL Desk if you are having difficulty renewing your ILLs.

Can my ILL be recalled?

The Lending Library can recall their loan(s) at any time. If your ILL is recalled, you are required to return it by the new due date you will be given. Generally, recalled books need to be returned within 3 days.

Recalled books that are not returned within 3 days of their new due date are subject to a $1.00 per day late fee.

If you still need the item, you may reorder it right away so that we can obtain another copy for you from a different library.

Minnesota State University, Moorhead
Main Library, Room 105
PH: (218)477-2924     Fax: (218)477-5924

Mailing Address:
LLLibrary/Interlibrary Loan
1104 7th Ave S
Moorhead, MN  56563

OCLC Symbol: MUO

Still can't find what you need? Unsure of what you need? Our helpful librarians at the Reference Desk  are available to help you with your research.