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So you are searching for a book or article in the libraries and despite your best efforts, it turns out it just isn’t here. You should just give up and pick a different book, right? Wrong! Interlibrary Loan (ILL) is here to help you! If the SUNY Albany libraries don’t have a book or access to a journal you need, the ILL office can ask another library to loan it to you instead. Once you make a request the Interlibrary Loan office searches for the closest available copy and asks that library to ship it to us. Usually it doesn’t take long, only a day or two. If the book you’re looking for isn’t available locally, the search can be expanded to further, from the city, to the state, to the country, and sometimes, even another country. That’s right, SUNY Albany has ILL agreements with libraries all over the world, so chances are good that you’ll get the book you’re looking for. Just remember that the further away the book comes from, the longer it will take to get here, so don’t just assume ILL can solve your last minute problems. Plan ahead!
A book from ILL will come with a due date set by the lending library, and it is also up to the lending library to decide whether you can renew the book or not. So keep in mind that you usually won’t be able to hold onto an ILL book as long as you could one from our own libraries.
Interlibrary Loan isn’t restricted to just books, either. Journal articles can also be requested. This process is much faster than receiving a book because the lending library will pull the article, scan it, and send it to you electronically within a day or two of the request; no shipping necessary!
Another great service the libraries offer is called UA Delivery. This is like Interlibrary Loan, except between the UAlbany libraries. If you’re based downtown, the book you want is uptown, and you don’t want to drive all the way up there just to pick it up, you can use the same request form as ILL to have the book pulled and shipped down here. This usually only takes one or two days as well. You can also request articles in the same way as ILL. Just remember, like with ILL, the process takes a day or two, so if you need something right away you’ll have to pick it up yourself.
Interlibrary Loan and UA Delivery are amazing services that can help you get the materials you need even if the libraries don’t hold them. If you have any more questions about these services, stop by the ILL office on the first floor of the Main Library uptown or call them at (518) 442-3613.
Blog post created by Alex Hoag
Picture source: legacylifespaces.com