Interlibrary Loan

What is Interlibrary Loan (ILL)?

    The Interlibrary Loan (ILL) department helps provide you with those full-length materials not available in our local Cook Library collection or in our state university system (USMAI). ILL can also be used to obtain shorter-length materials (i.e., articles and book chapters) from other libraries in USMAI and beyond – usually in electronic format.

    We offer specialized services

    Contact Us!

    Office: CK314
    Hours: M-F 9:00-5:00
    Phone: 410-704-3292

    What steps should I take before making a request?

    1. Check the Cook Library catalog to see if we own the item. Many items are available immediately, whether in physical or electronic format.
    2. For full-length items (like books), check the USMAI library catalog. If owned by another Maryland system library, that item can be requested directly from the catalog record and quickly sent to Towson for pick-up.
    3. For any items not found by the above steps, please place an ILL request via ILLiad.

    What can I borrow?

    Patrons may request:

    • books
    • articles
    • materials on microfilm
    • multimedia required for research
    • and many other types of materials

    Please note that these items may difficult to borrow:

    • genealogy materials
    • music scores
    • corporate technical reports and other in-house reports
    • some high-demand and/or recent publications

    What cannot be borrowed?

    Items such as these are not available through ILL:

    • items owned by another USMAI library
    • textbooks
    • reference materials
    • entire issues of journals, magazines, and newspapers
    • old (published prior to 1800) or rare books
    • record albums
    • software
    • CDs, audio cassettes, video cassettes/DVDs, - for recreational use (for these items please try a video rental store or a public library)
    • leisure or recreational reading (please consult your local public library)
    • fragile or bulky items
    • Items too difficult or too expensive to send

    What is ILLiad?

    • ILLiad is the online service you use to request a book or article that the library does not own. See the ILLIad FAQ for more information.
    • Create an ILLiad account via the First Time User link on the ILLiad login page. Pay special attention to the "Status" and "Department" fields. Students taking all classes at an off-campus site or online should select "Off-Campus Student".

    How do I access ILLiad?

    You can access ILLiad several ways:

    • Login using the login box to the right on this page
    • Login now at the Illiad login page
    • Look for ILLiad under Quick Tools.

    How do I retrieve or reset my password?

    Follow the Forgot Password link on the ILLiad page or just contact us. Note: This account is not connected to your NetID.

    How long does it take to get a loan?

    Most items are received within ten days to two weeks. The ILL Office staff makes every effort to obtain materials by the requested deadline. Please keep in mind that the ILL Office will not borrow bulky or fragile items that are difficult or too expensive to send.

    How much does it cost to get a loan?

    Usually, there is no charge for ILL requests. In rare cases, due to a high number of requests or the amount a lending library may charge, either the individual or the department (for faculty) will be required to absorb the cost.

    How do I make a request?

    You make and manage you requests using the ILLiad system.

    When submitting a request, select the proper source type from the "New Request" menu on the left. For example, choose "Photocopy" for articles and "Thesis" for dissertations or theses. When completing the request form, please complete all the required fields and any other fields for which you find information.


    • Make sure full-length items like books are not already owned by Cook or a USMAI library. If they are, the request will be cancelled and getting your items will take longer. For USMAI-owned items, place your request directly from the USMAI catalog .
    • For articles, check the Journal List to see whether we own the periodical or not before requesting.
    • Whenever possible, provide an ISBN/ISSN; it is the best way to insure you get the item you want.
    • Avoid using abbreviations when completing the request form.
    • Do not simply cut and paste citations into the notes field. Fill out the form field by field.
    • Fill out the "Where did you learn about this item?" part. It helps our staff find exact material when citations are unclear.

    How do I renew a book ?

    • Login to your ILLIAD account
    • On the left side of the screen under View, click on "Check out items"
    • Click on the transaction number of the book
      • If a renewal is allowed, "Renew Request" will appear above the transaction information
      • Click on this link. The message "Item renewed with a due date of day/month/year ” will appear
    • The book is temporarily renewed for one week, while we wait for the lending library to respond
    • Once the lending library responds (usually within one week) the new due date will be emailed to you

    TIP: To get the maximum renewal period, wait until the book due date is two days away. (e.g. if the book is due March 25th, wait until March 23rd to request a renewal)

    NOTE: If the book band is labeled "No Renewals" then it cannot be renewed. Once a book is overdue, it may not be renewed.

    What are the borrowing guidelines?


    Please watch your email for notification of when your request is available.

    • Most articles/book chapters are made available electronically through ILLiad.
    • Full-length items and microfilm are held behind the circulation desk for pick-up.
    • NOTE: Items not retrieved from circulation within a week of notification may be returned to the lender.
    • If you find the printed due date for your item is too near, please either renew the item through ILLiad or contact the ILL office (410-704-3292).

    Borrowing Restrictions

    The lending libraries set the borrowing terms for their items -- including loan periods. They may also require that items be restricted to use in Cook Library, for example, or that renewals be unavailable for certain items. Please be aware that such restrictions may apply.

    Returning Items

    The due date for full-length items can be found on the stickered paper sleeve accompanying the item. Please return materials to circulation by this date. Usually, overdue notices are sent by email, but items long overdue will result in your account being automatically blocked and your ILL service suspended.

    If your account is blocked, please contact the ILL office (410-704-3292) to ask any questions and resolve the situation.

    Additional Help

    Still have questions? Contact us

    Emiko Ortega, Library Services Specialist for ILL (Lending)
    Kyla O’hara, Library Services Specialist for ILL (Borrowing)
    Kevin Fry, Access Services Specialist
    (410) 704-3961
    Carissa Tomlinson, Assistant University Librarian for Access & Outreach Services
    (410) 704-3359