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Interlibrary Loan (ILL)

Interlibrary Loan (ILL) is a service provided by American University that allows faculty, staff, and students to borrow resources from other Libraries all over the country, and even internationally.

There are two different types of ILL requests that a user can make: 1) within the Washington Research Library Consortium (WRLC), which American University is a part of along with nine other Universities in the DC area. 2) outside the WRLC to any other University throughout the country. Please determine which type of request you need information for, and select the appropriate tab below for more information about that type of request.

In-person Help:
Library Borrowing Desk
Mon-Fri: 12:00pm-1:00pm

(202) 885-3260


Quick Links:
Manual ILL Request

Turnaround Time

Materials requested through WRLC usually take 2-3 days to arrive at the library. They are held at the Borrowing Desk for 10 days from the day you receive the email that they have arrived.

Loan Periods

Undergrad and Staff: 4 weeks
Graduate: 6 weeks
Faculty: Fixed Dates - Jan 31, May 31, or Sept 30

How to complete a request

Books: Requests within the WRLC can be made by searching for a book through AU's Summon interface (the main search box on the homepage) or by searching directly on the WRLC Catalog. If the book is owned by a WRLC school it can be ordered by clicking the "request" link which will direct you to a pre-populated ILL service form.

Book Chapters: AU users may also request that scans of individual chapters be made and sent to their Library Account as a web doc. Copyright restrictions do apply and scan requests for more than 10% of an item will not be fulfilled.

Journal Volumes: Journal volumes held at the WRLC storage center may be ordered by clicking the same "REQUEST" link. Once the journal arrives it will be held at the borrowing desk for 10 days. All journal volumes are IN LIBRARY USE only.

Multimedia: All DVDs and other media located in the WRLC libraries are listed in the online catalog like books. Depending on home library policies, these may be available to AU faculty, staff and students through a regular request. Multimedia items are loaned for five days and overdue fines are $5 per day. Consortium users are welcome to view any title on-site at Media Services.

Please note: AU users cannot use this type of request to obtain AU videos. If the title is available, you are more than welcome to come to the library and check it out in person.


Books: Books may be renewed online through your My Library Account up to 3 times. Additionally, books may be brought to AU Library in-person for re-check out (doing so will reset the three time renewal limit).

Journal Volumes: Journal volumes can be renewed by contacting the Interlibrary Loan Office via email, phone, or in person.

Multimedia: Multimedia materials cannot be renewed beyond their original five day loan period. If you need media material for longer than five days, please contact the Interlibrary Loan Office.

To renew your materials online:

  1. Log in to your My Library Account
  2. Click the "Checked Out" tab to access a summary of all the books on your account
  3. Click the blue "Renew" button on the Checked Out Item summary
  4. Select the items that you would like to renew. (Note: George Mason and Georgetown items are listed separately from the other WRLC libraries; Georgetown requires an additional log-in using your last name and full barcode number.)
  5. Check the renewal status to see if your item was renewed successfully

If you are having problems renewing, it may be for one of the following reasons:

  1. You have already renewed your books three times online and need to bring them to any consortium library to have them rechecked-out.
  2. A hold/recall has been placed on one of the books.
  3. You have $25.00 or more in library fines that you will need to pay off at any consortium library before you will be permitted to borrow further.
  4. Your library account has expired.
Faculty Proxy Information

Faculty proxy privileges extend to all materials borrowed from any of the member libraries of the Washington Research Library Consortium (WRLC). A proxy can be authorized by completing a Faculty Proxy Authorization Form and submitting it to the Borrowing Desk.

NOTE: Before placing this type of request, please be sure to check that the item you are requesting is not available inside the WRLC. This type of request will take longer to process and has more restrictions.

Turnaround Time

Materials requested through non-WRLC Libraries usually take 7-10 business days to arrive at the library. The items will be held until the lending library specified due date at the Borrowing Desk.

Loan Periods

Loan periods for ILL materials are up to the discretion of the lender. Renewals and terms of the lending are also decided by the lending institution. To check for due dates please look at the purple label affixed to the material or login to your My Library Account. ILL books are held until the due date given by the lender.

How to complete a request

Requests outside the WRLC can be made by searching through WorldCat for the title and then selecting the link that says "Request this item through ILL." This will prompt you to log in to your Library Account and will take you to a pre-populated request form.

If you are trying to manually input a request, please log into your My Library Account, click on the "Requests" tab, and select the ILLiad Log in link on the right hand side of the page. When filling out the ILL form manually, try to include as much information as possible. Often this helps our ILL department get the item to you faster.

Eligible Items
  • Books
  • Book Chapters (10%)
  • Microfiche
  • Reports/Conference Proceedings
  • Articles
  • Media (film, music, audio)
  • Microfilm
  • Theses/Dissertations

Non-Consortium due dates and renewals are subject to approval by the lending library. Renewal requests can be submitted to the ILL office through your ILLiad account, by email or phone, or in person at AU library. AU ILL will notify patrons of the outcome of their renewal request via email after the lending library has made a determination.

If you need to renew an ILL item that does not permit renewals (NO RENEWALS will be listed on the purple ILL label) or is past its due date, please contact the Interlibrary Loan office. Overdue items cannot be renewed on your ILLiad account.

To renew your materials online:

  1. Log in to your ILLiad account, which can be accessed from the "Requests" tab of your My Library Account
  2. Click "View/Renew Items" or "Checked Out Items" to access a summary of all ILL items checked out to your ILLiad account
  3. Select the transaction number of the ILL request that you would like to have renewed, then select "Request Renewal" from transaction record
  4. A tentative due date of four weeks in the future will become visible
  5. AU ILL sends your renewal request to lending library
  6. AU ILL notifies patron of approval or denial of renewal request
Faculty Proxy Information

Faculty proxy privileges do not apply to Interlibrary Loan requests, regardless of whether the faculty member or their proxy submits the request. ILL requests must be placed by the faculty member in order to be checked out to the faculty member's account. All ILL requests submitted by a proxy patron will be checked out to the account of the proxy patron. Faculty proxies may pick up the ILL items requested by their faculty member when they arrive at the Borrowing Desk. A proxy can be authorized by completing a Faculty Proxy Authorization Form and submitting it to the Borrowing Desk.

NOTE: AU maintains a special lending relationship with all universities within the WRLC. If you are affiliated with one of the consortium schools please see the directions for requests within the WRLC.

Lending to other Libraries and Institutions

Libraries and institutions not affiliated with WRLC are also invited to make requests for AU books. This is generally done via the OCLC ILL system by using our library symbol: EAU.

For institutions that don't participate in OCLC, we provide online forms for both book and article/chapter requests. Before submitting any request it may be helpful to check the current availability of the desired resource by finding it in our catalog.

Type of Library Loans Articles or Chapters

For-Profit Libraries



Non-Profit Libraries



Public Libraries



Government Libraries



Academic Libraries



LVIS, ASERL, and IDS Libraries



Turnaround time and Rush requests

Although we typically respond to requests within 1-2 days, we may take up to 4 days during the busiest times of the year. For urgent requests we offer a rush processing service (for an additional $25) that aims to fill requests in ~2hrs from submission. It is highly recommended that requestors call our office when submitting rush requests to ensure we begin working on them as soon as possible.

Delivery Options

Our default shipping method for items traveling within the United States is the U.S. Postal Service's library-rate mail. Other arrangements, such as courier pick-up or express shipping, are available upon request if your institution has trouble receiving standard mail. All international requests are shipped via Fed-Ex.

Loan Periods, Renewals, and Recalls

The standard loan period for an item is 4 weeks from the date the request is filled. We typically allow up to 2 renewals, each for another 4 weeks. Institutions using OCLC are asked to submit renewal requests through that system. Other institutions may make requests over the phone or through email. Please note: we reserve the right to recall items before the assigned due date.

Items that CANNOT be borrowed from AU

The following item types are generally ineligible for Interlibrary Loan. If you are interested in borrowing any of the below please contact us directly and we will connect you with the appropriate library staff member.

  1. Entire issues of journals, magazines, and newspapers
  2. Materials from our reference collections
  3. Sound recordings
  4. Software
  5. Audio or Video Cassettes and DVDs
  6. Rare books and materials held in special collections