Answers to Frequently Asked Questions about Interlibrary Loan


  1. What is Interlibrary Loan?
  2. Who may use Interlibrary Loan Service?
  3. How much does it cost to use the service?
  4. What types of materials are available for loan?
  5. What types of materials are not usually available for loan?
  6. How do I request items on Interlibrary Loan?
  7. How long does it take to get an item from Interlibrary Loan?
  8. How will I be notified and where do I pick up my requested item?
  9. What is Electronic Delivery?
  10. How long will I be able to keep the loan and can I renew it?
  11. I canít get to the Interlibrary Loan office before 5 pm.
  12. Is security a problem if I use a public workstation?
  13. I need more information, or I'm having problems with Interlibrary Loan.

What is Interlibrary Loan?

Interlibrary Loan is a service provided to obtain materials which are needed for research but are not available in the Oviatt Library.

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Who may use Interlibrary Loan Service?

Currently enrolled CSUN students, currently employed CSUN faculty and staff and Emeritus faculty are entitled to Interlibrary Loan services.
Please do not request materials for others as you will be held responsible for the item.
Courtesy card holders, such as Alumni and Friends of the Library, should obtain Interlibrary Loan Services at their local public library.

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How much does it cost to use the service?

There is no charge for borrowing materials or getting photocopies within the CSUN Interlibrary Loan "network," which includes the other 22-campus CSU system, a host of reciprocal libraries and our document suppliers. Requests from undergraduates are not made outside of this network agreement, so no charges are involved. For graduates, faculty and staff, materials may be requested from any library in the U.S. and many abroad. The Oviatt Library subsidizes most fees that the lending library may charge. However, because of budgetary constraints, limits are set on the subsidies. Faculty are allotted $500.00 per year, doctoral students $400, graduate students $250.00, and CSUN staff $100.00. We always attempt to fill a request from within our free network first, but it is difficult to predict when it may be necessary to search beyond the network.

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What types of materials are available for loan?

Items which normally circulate, such as books and theses, and some materials reproduced in microform, such as newspapers, can be borrowed. Photocopies of non-circulating materials, primarily periodical articles, can be requested in accordance with the copyright law. Items owned by CSUN library that have been declared Missing or Overdue in the catalog can be requested.

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What types of materials are not usually available for loan?

The following types of materials may not normally be borrowed: books owned by the Oviatt Library which are temporarily in use or checked out; reference books, genealogical items or textbooks; books very recently published or in high demand; entire periodical issues or volumes; newspapers unless available on microform; non-book materials such as audiovisual recordings; materials for reserve or group use; bulky or fragile items; and rare or valuable materials such as manuscripts

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How do I request items on Interlibrary Loan?

The library catalog, our full-text databases and the Government Publications Shelf List for items published prior to 2000 must be consulted first to be sure the material is not held in the Oviatt Library.
Currently we have two methods for submitting requests:

  1. Use the automated Interlibrary Loan System. There are 4 request forms available: an article, a loan, a book chapter and thesis.
  2. Through most databases, once you find the citation of the item, you can order it by selecting the Find Text button.

Accurate and complete bibliographic information must be supplied, along with the "source" (usually an index, major bibliography or a searched database), where this information was verified.

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How long does it take to get an item from Interlibrary Loan?

The average time required to receive a routine item is approximately ten working days. The time depends on the availability of the item, the location of the potential lending libraries, the speed of the delivery, the accuracy of the information supplied in the requests and the volume of requests being processed by Interlibrary Loan. The processing of the request can be sped up by making sure all the information submitted is complete and correct. Requests with problems such as abbreviations, missing or inaccurate information, or a "not needed after" date of less than 2 weeks, are resolved only as time permits. (See also sections on "Notification" and "Questions")

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How will I be notified and where do I pick up my requested item?

The information you provide in your patron profile on the ILL System will determine how you are notified when the material arrives. During our regular turnaround time, please check your profile for the request status. Loans can be picked up from the Interlibrary Loan office during our regular office hours. Photocopies can be delivered to your desktop, be picked up from the office or sent to you by U.S. Mail. When the Interlibrary Loan Office is closed you will need to pick your items up at the Reference Desk. (Please see After Hours section for pick up at the Reference Desk.)

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What is electronic delivery?

Many libraries send photocopies of articles to us in electronic format. In the past we printed these articles before delivering them to you. Now, through our automated system we are able to offer you the option of electronic delivery of these articles in PDF format (Adobe's Portable Document Format). You can read more about electronic delivery on the Electronic Delivery Information page.

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How long will I be able to keep the loan and can I renew it?

Lending libraries determine any conditions regarding the use of their materials, including the loan period which varies from 14 Ė 21 days for all patrons (including faculty). The loan period begins on the date the material arrives at CSUN, so any delays in picking it up results in less use time for you. The lending library determines if their item is renewable so you should check each itemís status in your View/Renew Checked Out Items section. You must request a renewal before the due date. Other restrictions may include "for Library Use Only," and "Photocopying Not Permitted." Be sure to leave the identification band on the cover of the loan. Do not return ILL materials to the Circulation Department or a book drop; in doing so if the item is lost or damaged, you will be responsible for replacement costs. All materials borrowed through Interlibrary Loan must be returned to the Interlibrary Loan Office or the Reference Desk for special processing. Late return of materials jeopardizes our Interlibrary Loan relationship with other libraries, and we will refuse further Interlibrary Loan service to anyone who disregards due dates, lender restrictions or CSUN policy. Late fees may be imposed by the lending library which you will be responsible for paying.

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I canít get to the Interlibrary Loan office before 5 pm.

When the Interlibrary Loan office is closed, materials may be picked up and returned at the Reference Desk, ONLY during those hours when a reference librarian is on duty. Reference desk hours are normally M-Th 7:45am-9pm, F 7:45am-4:45pm, S 12:00pm-4:45pm, Su 12:00pm -7:00 pm, but check for special hours during vacations and summer sessions. Please email, call or come in if there are any questions about our service or ILL requests.

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Is security a problem if I use a public workstation?

Yes. Web browsers cache information that allow a subsequent user of the workstation to access pages you've viewed by using the browser's Back button. This could include your personal information page. If you are concerned about the security of your interlibrary loan requests or personal information, you can take the following steps:

  1. Access the system only from your personal computer or an otherwise secure workstation.
  2. Access the system from a public workstation in the Interlibrary Loan office in the library. This computer is supervised by the library staff.
  3. When using a public access workstation exit from the Web browser before you leave the workstation. This prevents the Back button from accessing the pages you were using.
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I need more information, or I'm having problems with Interlibrary Loan.

Email the Interlibrary Loan office, or by phone: (818)677-2294. The Librarians at the Reference Desk can assist you in the bibliographic searching, but they cannot be expected to know all the intricate details of the Interlibrary Loan policy and procedure. Discussing a non-routine request with the Interlibrary Loan Staff, particularly theses, dissertations, music, conference proceedings, government documents, technical reports, etc. may save you a great deal of time, energy and frustration. There may also be alternative means of getting your materials, especially articles; many of these are accessible online.

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The conditions of this service are set by the National Interlibrary Loan Code, 1980 (adopted by the American Library Association), the CSU Interlibrary Borrowing System agreement, the regulations of individual lending libraries and the polices of CSUN Library.
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