Information about ILL Charges

Shields Library and the Interlibrary Loan Department are dedicated to providing access to research collections all over the world. In most cases ILL requests will be processed with no charge to you. However, ILL is an expensive process and we ask that you use this service judiciously. Our request placement process makes little differentiation between requests that will be processed routinely and requests that will incur significantly more expense. Because this distinction is hidden from our patrons, we have instituted a notification letter letting our users know when a requested item is unavailable from libraries that loan to us free-of-charge. Here are some answers to frequently asked questions about this new step in ILL processing.

Frequently Asked Questions

How much will this cost me?
Answer: The library covers costs up to $50.00 for requests related to University Research. Most domestic requests cost between $15 and $20 dollars. It is fairly unusual for a US or Canada request to exceed the amount that the library covers. Most overseas requests cost between $45 and $60 dollars. It is not possible to know the exact cost of an ILL transaction in advance of authorization. If a request does exceed the $50 dollar threshold, we will only bill you for the amount that it goes over. If you prefer, we can process a request authorizing only the $50 dollars covered by the library.
Does it really cost that much for an ILL transaction?
Answer: $15 to $20 dollars is a fairly common rate for ILL transactions between academic libraries. When other out-of-state libraries request material from our collections, we charge $20 dollars per transaction. Keep in mind that these amounts are in addition to our own labor, overhead, and shipping costs.
Isn't this item available at a UC Library?
Answer: It is possible that the copy at a UC library is currently checked-out or may be non-circulating. When we ask to borrow material from other libraries, they always have the option to say .no.. If it is not available at a UC library, then we consider trying libraries that charge. None of the UC libraries will recall a book from their own patron in order to fill an ILL request. It is also possible that we missed a detail in our processing. If the Melvyl system indicates that the item is available, and it doesn.t appear to be in a non-circulating collection, send us a message back and we will check that we didn.t miss anything.
Would it be cheaper if I just order the chapter that I need?
Answer: If you just need a section of a work -- an article or a chapter -- it can improve your chances of successfully getting an item. Libraries will often copy a section of an item even if it is non-circulating. However, this is generally not any cheaper. Because of the labor involved in scanning or photocopying most libraries charge about the same for copies or scans as for loans.
How will I be billed?
Answer: By default, any billing will be processed through the campus accounting system. You will receive a bill that will need to be paid to the registrar.s office. For faculty, we can bill to department accounts if you so request.
Why is ILL adding this extra step to the process?
Answer: We have been working over the last 10 years to make requesting ILL material easier and to improve our user.s ability to locate and access the research materials they need. We don.t want to un-do those improvements. We do, however see a fairly high number of requested items that are never picked-up. We have begun using this form letter as a means keeping our users aware of the expense of this service. Our hope is that this will reduce the number of expensive requests that are processed and never used.

Tips and Hints:

  • If you still want the item in question, be sure to respond to the authorization message. Your request will be parked and permanently inactive until you forward the message to us letting us know that we can proceed.
  • When answering ILL about these authorization messages, forward the entire message . please don.t delete the citation or radically change the subject line.
  • When we get ILL requests for books, we generally assume that you are looking for a specific edition of a book. If .any edition will do., please let us know in your answer. Often, certain editions will be much more widely available than others. They might be available free-of-charge.