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Sherrod Library

East Tennessee State University

Interlibrary Loan: FAQs

Need something we don't have at the Sherrod Library? We can get it for you (or try our best)! Learn more.

Mysteries of ILL

What can I request through ILL?

Books, book chapters, journal articles, items on microform, and theses/dissertations. In addition, graduate students, faculty, and staff may request scholarly video and audio recordings.

Only request material that we don't own at ETSU or that isn't available through the local libraries courier.  This includes the book, journal, and media collections at the Sherrod Library.  The book collections at the Kingsport University Center and many of the local public libraries are in the Library's online catalog, and we have a courier service to bring these to campus.  Just click on 'Request Title' when you find a book you would like to read.

We do have to have an accurate citation with enough information for a potential lender to find your article or book chapter.  The responsibility for providing that full citation rests with you, the patron.

Is there anything I can't get through ILL?

The purpose of ILL is to support scholarship and academic research, so please ask for leisure reading material, popular films, or genealogy research from your local public library. Since it takes a long time to find a library willing to lend an entire issue of a journal, you're much better off asking for individual articles. Last, ILL cannot get required textbooks.

Can I request really old books or articles?

Yes! We can find a library to lend old or rare items surprisingly often. It may come as microfilm or microfiche, though, or be restricted to library-only use.

Where do my books and articles come from?

ETSU has free-lend agreements with over 2,000 libraries worldwide. We have access to 65,000 more, which may or may not charge. At those libraries, a student worker, much like we have here at ETSU, will pull the book or copy the article and send it to us through the mail.

I like this book that I got from ILL. Can I just keep it and buy it from the lending library?

No. That book is the property of another library, and they want it back. Check our book ordering resources page for a good starting point for finding both recent and out-of-print books.

My professor asked me to get this book for her through ILL. How can I do that?

If you are a GA or a student worker, we strongly recommend that you get your professor's login information and use his/her ILLiad account. If you use your account, you will be responsible for fines if the professor keeps a book too long. 

I lost the cover wrapper from my ILL book. Is this a problem?

We place the wrapper on there for a reason, so please do not remove it. If you do lose it, bring the book to the main Circulation desk and speak with a staff member.

What if I lose an ILL book?

Let us know early as possible to protect our relationship with the library that loaned the book. The lending library sets the replacement cost, which we will then charge you. Replacement costs in the past have been from to .

ILLiad says my account is blocked. Have I been banned from using ILL?

We have never permanently banned anyone, but access to ILLiad might be blocked for overdue items or unpaid fees. If you rack up a lot of overdue books, you might be restricted to using ILL material here in the Library.  Come to Room 163 in the Library to talk to Alison, or call her at 423-439-6998.

How do I view the article?

Log into ILLiad and look at the menu on the left-side frame.  Click on 'Electronically Received Articles.'  A table that shows the transaction number and title of the article will appear.  Click on the link that shows 'View' next to the the PDF symbol.  You do need to have a PDF viewer on your computer to open the file; the latest version of Adobe Acrobat Reader can be downloaded at

Help! The article I got last month is gone!

To keep within copyright guidelines, articles are kept on the server for 30 days, then automatically deleted.  Please print out or save your articles during these four weeks.

My article has missing pages!  Who do I talk to so I can get the missing pages?

The one drawback to electronic delivery is that we ILLers don't get to see the article and check it for legibility and completeness before it's delivered.  You can call us at (423) 439-6997 or send an e-mail to

How much does an ILL cost?


Is ILL the best way to get dissertations and theses?

The full text of many dissertations from 1997 to the present is available by selecting the Digital Dissertations database. For older theses and dissertations, submit an ILL request and be aware that it may take longer than average in mailing time, especially if the thesis was submitted to a university on the West coast or overseas. If you need it faster, you can purchase your own copy of dissertations from Proquest.