All About Interlibrary Loan (ILL)

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General Information

What is Interlibrary Loan and who can use it?

Interlibrary Loan (ILL) is a service that allows you to request items unavailable at COCC Barber Library or other Summit libraries. Current COCC students, faculty, and staff can use ILL services. Community patrons should contact their local public library for Interlibrary Loan services.

Are Interlibrary Loan and Summit the same thing?

Interlibrary Loan is different than Summit, which is a collaborative lending program of 37 academic libraries across the Pacific Northwest. If you are looking for an item and haven't tried Summit yet, we suggest you search the Summit Catalog before placing an Interlibrary Loan request, as Summit delivery is usually faster than ILL.


Can I get my textbooks via Interlibrary Loan?

Interlibrary Loan is not a reliable method for getting textbooks. Most libraries do not own and lend textbooks.

Additionally, you can generally only keep an Interlibrary Loan for three to four weeks (sometimes even less!), which isn't long enough for most classes. Overdue fines and replacement fees for long overdue items are assessed to your student account and will create a hold on your account that can prevent you from receiving financial aid, registering for future terms or from graduating.

If you are looking to borrow a textbook, you should see if the item is available via the Library's course reserves service. If not, talk to your instructor about providing a reserves copy of the textbook to the Library.

Delivery Times

How long does it take to get an item?

Depending on the item, it can take anywhere from 2-14 working days.

Articles are usually sent electronically and arrive faster than physical items, usually within 2-7 days.

Books, DVDs, CDs, and other physical materials generally take 6-14 working days.

If you selected Redmond, Madras, or Prineville as your pickup location, the delivery time takes 2-3 additional days, as we have to receive and process the item in Bend before sending it out via mail. 

Some items may take several weeks to obtain or simply may not be available at all, depending on the nature of the item and how many libraries own it. You will be notified if your request cannot be filled at all.

What if I need something fast?

We have no control over how fast other libraries process requests we make, and we cannot guarantee delivery dates of requested items. Interlibrary Loan is a national system, and books or other physical items may have to travel a considerable distance by mail to get here. (Articles are delivered electronically and usually more quickly.) There are no "rush" requests.

If you need an article or item right away or the next day, consider alternatives to Interlibrary Loan. If the COCC Library doesn't have an online or physical item you need, use the article search engines to find a similar online resource and/or ask a librarian to help you find an alternative resource.


How much does it cost?

There is no charge for borrowing items. You are responsible for paying any overdue fees or replacement charges.

Checking Out Interlibrary Loans

How will I know when my requests arrive?

You will receive an email saying that your items has arrived. Journal articles are delivered electronically, while physical items will be held for you to pick up at the location you chose when you registered for Interlibrary Loan.

How long can I keep my Interlibrary Loans?

This varies from item to item, but is generally 2 to 4 weeks. The loan time is shorter for items like DVDs or CDs. The library that lends us the item sets the due date. The due date will be printed on a label on the book's cover.

Electronically delivered documents remain in your ILL account for 30 days. After that, they will be deleted from the system.

Renewing Interlibrary Loan Items

What if I need the item longer?

You can request a renewal of an ILL item via the ILL system (see instructions below). Keep in mind that not all libraries allow renewals of their materials.

How can I renew an item I already have checked out?

  1. Log in to your Interlibrary Loan account.
  2. Click on the "Renew Items" link on the left menu.
  3. Click on the transaction number of the item you wish to renew.
  4. Click on the red link at the top of the screen that says Renew Request. Watch the screen for additional messages. Not all renewal requests are granted. You will also receive an email either way - if your renewal request is granted or not. Each lending library has its own policies about ILL renewals.

Canceled Requests

Why was my request canceled?

While we try our hardest, it is not possible to fill every single ILL request, for a variety of reasons. These reasons include

  • The item is rare or is a material type that most libraries won't loan (microfilm, for example). There are books that are owned by only 3 or 4 libraries in the whole world. In these cases, libraries typically don't loan that item.
  • The only libraries that own it would charge to lend it to COCC. The COCC Library has no budget to pay for loans. Lots of libraries loan for free, but when it comes to some very specialized materials (theses, certain journals, foreign-language books), these tend to be owned by large research libraries that charge to lend.
  • Licensing agreements limit libraries from loaning materials. This is becoming more and more common, as most publishers and content providers will not let libraries loan online content. If you request an e-book for example, this will almost certainly be an unfilled request (though sometimes it's possible to get single chapters of an e-book). This can also sometimes prevent us from getting journal articles when the libraries we typically borrow from only have online subscriptions to the content requested.
  • Local policies prevent the owning libraries from loaning the item. Most libraries have collections that are for in-library use only and that they don't loan to other libraries. At COCC, for example, we don't loan our course reserves textbooks to other libraries, as that would negatively impact local students who need these high-demand items. (This is one reason why it's so hard to get textbooks through Interlibrary Loan - if a library happens to have textbooks, they're usually for local use only).
  • The requested item is checked out by a patron at the owning libraries, so they can't send it to us. This is often the case with popular books and movies.

If an item is in WorldCat, why can't you get it for me?

WorldCat is a tool for finding about libraries' holdings, or their inventory. Just because a library owns an item doesn't mean they will lend it (or lend it for free). Any of the reasons listed above can prevent a held item from being available for loan.

Questions and Help

Whom do I contact if I have more questions?
Contact Patricia Givens, the Barber Library's Interlibrary Loan Coordinator, if you have questions or need assistance using ILL.
Phone: 541-383-7561