Oklahoma State University - Tulsa
Oklahoma State University - Tulsa

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Interlibrary Loan FAQs

Interlibrary Loan FAQs


What is Interlibrary Loan?

Who can use it?

What can I get?

How do I get started?

How long does it take?

How will I know when my stuff arrives?

Where do I pick it up?

How much does it cost?

How long can I keep it?

Why do the books have different due dates than other books I check out from the library?

Can I renew it?

Where do I return it?

What about overdue fines?

Why does it sometimes take so long to get a book or article?

Why was my request rejected?

I got an email telling me my book arrived but when I came to the library it wasn't there. Where is it?

Which libraries participate in the ILL program?

How does interlibrary loan really work?

What is Interlibrary Loan?

Interlibrary Loan is system where libraries across the state, country, continent and the globe agree to share parts of their collections with each other. They may loan books and other returnable materials for a short period of time. They also may provide photocopies of journal articles, book chapters or other materials within the boundaries of copyright laws and guidelines.

Who can use it?

OSU-Tulsa students, faculty and staff and Langston-Tulsa Nursing students may use Interlibrary Loan. You must have a valid O-KEY or LionKey email address and password to access the system. Community Borrowers and other members of the public DO NOT have interlibrary loan privileges.

What can I get?

Most anything that any library would lend: books, copies of journal articles, some DVDs and videos.

Conversely, libraries will NOT loan what most libraries keep close on hand: reference books, entire journal volumes or issues, rare or expensive materials, and some DVDs or videos that are restricted by license. Most electronic journals and databases require that subscribers sign a license that prohibits lending articles on interlibrary loan. So, items from these sources (e.g. PSYCRITIQUES or COCHRAN LIBRARY) are also unavailable for borrowing.

How do I get started?

First you must register with the ILLIAD interlibrary loan system. You may access it via the OSU-Tulsa website. Be sure you are on the OSU-Tulsa ILLIAD before you register! If you are on the OSU-Stillwater ILLIAD please notify OSU-Tulsa Interlibrary Loan.

How long does it take?

  • Journal articles from OK: average 3 days (usually 1 day if available from OSU)
  • Journal articles from outside OK: average about 4 1/2 days
  • Books from OK: average about 6
  • Books from outside OK: average about 6 1/2 days
  • Please note that these times are estimated averages. Some items may take longer.

How will I know when my stuff arrives?

When you register on ILLIAD you select whether you prefer to be emailed or called. ILLIAD can automatically notify you by email when your requested item arrives.

Where do I pick it up?

Interlibrary books ready to be picked up are filed at the Circulation desk.

How much does it cost?

Interlibrary Loan service is free for OSU-Tulsa students, faculty, and staff. However, there are hidden costs that are covered by the library that are important to keep in mind. Some libraries charge for their loans or copies. We must pay copyright royalties on some journal articles that we borrow. There are fees for courier services, postage and shipping materials. There are annual dues for associations and consortia. There is also the cost of using the international computer network that makes Interlibrary Loan all possible.

How long can I keep it?

The due date is printed on the white band wrapped around the cover of the book. PLEASE DO NOT REMOVE THIS WHITE BAND. It is important for processing the book after it is returned.

Why do the books have different due dates than other books I check out from the library?

Due dates are set by the lending library. OSU-Tulsa has no control over this. After all, it is another library’s book; they can let it go (or not) for however long they want...and ask to have it returned whenever they want as well!

Can I renew it?

Many libraries will allow one renewal for a short period of time but some do not allow renewals at all. Contact the Interlibrary Loan office about 3 days in advance of the due date for a renewal by using the Renew Books tab on the library home page, calling 918-594-8138 or email phil.parker@okstate.edu.

Where do I return it?

Return interlibrary loan books WITH THE WHITE BAND THAT CAME WITH IT to any OSU-Tulsa book drop.

What about overdue fines?

Overdue Interlibrary Loans are 25 cents per day overdue. Some fines and costs from the lending library may also apply. Since these items are the property of another library often in another state it is important to return their property on time and in good shape if we are to maintain their trust to borrow from them again in the future.

Why does it sometimes take so long to get a book or article

  • Lending libraries come in all shapes, sizes and organization levels. Some larger libraries (like OSU-Stillwater) have their materials spread out on several different locations on campus. Human beings must locate and deliver the material to the main library and then ship it to us from there among all of the other items that are shipped all over the world.
  • Availability, availability, availability. Although we can see which libraries have purchased a certain book or journal we can't see if the book is sitting on the shelf, lost, or checked out. Books in popular demand may be off the shelf at several libraries before we find a library that has one to lend (this is why we frown upon borrowing class textbooks on interlibrary loan).
  • A lot depends on where we have to get the item. Shipping charges are paid by the lender so if the only library in the country that owns this book is on a shoestring budget then it may take a long time to get here.
  • Sometimes, especially for journal articles and conference papers, the citation is incomplete or has a mistake in it. This can cause much consternation and head scratching at the lending library and sometimes lead to outright rejection of the request.
  • Rarely emergency situations or natural disasters can affect delivery of interlibrary loan items. Hurricane Katrina in August 2005 affected much interlibrary borrowing and lending to and from the Louisiana. The anthrax scare not long after the September 11, 2001 attacks caused major delays in shipping to and from the Washington DC and New York City area for many months.
  • Although there can be many reasons for delay these are some of the most common.

    Why was my request rejected?

    If an interlibrary loan request is canceled you will be sent an email that will explain in a short sentence why it was rejected. Sometimes the items are not available in libraries because the requested item is too new to be purchased and held in libraries. Sometimes the information citing the item is incorrect (this is why learning proper citation styles like APA, Chicago, or MLA are so important). A growing trend is for publishers to issue content online only and can be retrieved for a fee. The library does not purchase these items.

    I got an email telling me my book arrived but when I came to the library it wasn't there. Where is it?

    Look at the bottom of the email. If the contact information is for OSU Interlibrary Service in Stillwater, or the contact phone number has a (405) area code, then your ILLIAD record is in the Stillwater Interlibrary loan system, not the Tulsa system. You will need to register at the Tulsa ILLIAD system and make your ILL requests on the Tulsa ILLIAD system to have materials delivered to the Tulsa campus.

    Which libraries participate in the ILL program?

    OSU-Tulsa uses OCLC, the international standard library cataloging and interlibrary loan network. OCLC's Interlibrary Loan participants number roughly around 18,000 libraries. The number includes most major university and research libraries, public libraries, medical libraries and many specialized libraries in the US and around the world.

    How does interlibrary loan really work?

    No library (not even the OSU Stillwater library) can have or anticipate every need (but we try!). Libraries participate in layers of formalized reciprocal agreements that set the rules and guidelines for interlibrary lending and borrowing. These rules delegate responsibilities, sets limits and determine charges (if any). They establish protocols of which libraries are consulted as resources of first and last resorts trying whenever possible not to over burden a single library. Agreements of this type are made at the local, state, regional and national level. Because of the cooperative nature of this enterprise, all agreements must be mutually followed to ensure the future availability of resources.

    OSU-Tulsa makes its requests in roughly a geographic pattern: We will try OSU Stillwater and OSU branch libraries first. After that we request from Oklahoma academic and public libraries if available. We belong to a consortia group called AMIGOS that includes academic and public libraries in the surrounding 5 state area. If the material isn't available from there we search a broader area through our agreement with BCR (an association of Rocky Mountain research libraries) and LVIS (a large consortium of libraries mostly in the Midwest). From there we can search the rest of the country and the rest of the world for the item if needed. Keep in mind the further away we get from home the more likely the university will incur a charge for the item. Although the university absorbs the cost it is prudent business to try and obtain the item for as little as possible.

    Last updated: 6/24/14. Email the Library Webmaster
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