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Interlibrary Loan Borrowing

The United Library's Interlibrary Loan Department is happy to help our current students, faculty and staff obtain materials owned by other libraries. Patrons who are members of the general public, Northwestern students, and guests who are students at other schools are encouraged to explore the Interlibrary Loan services of their home academic libraries or local public libraries.

  • Requesting Items:  Forms may be filled out online or at the circulation desk. Please have the citation information for the item available when filling out the forms. 

  • How Long Does It Take to Receive an Item?  As the Interlibrary Loan service relies on couriers and the US mail, the average turn-around time is 10 days.  As a result, please do not wait until a paper deadline to make Interlibrary Loan requests.

  • How Long Will I Have the Item Once It Arrives?  Loan periods vary and are stipulated by the lending library.  On average, most books are available for approximately two weeks.   Lending libraries also specify whether an item may be taken out of the library overnight, or must be used within the United Library.

  • Costs:  On behalf of the students, faculty and staff of Garrett-Evangelical and Seabury, the United Library will gladly request items from other libraries. Please note, though, that in the case of archival materials, rare books, and media items, sometimes a lending library will decline to loan the object. Nevertheless, most libraries are quite generous in sharing their collections, particularly with regard to books. Patrons who are members of the general public, Northwestern students, and guests who are students at other schools are encouraged to explore the Interlibrary Loan services of their home academic libraries or local public libraries.