Interlibrary Loan: Borrowing from other Libraries

Get the submit form to:

order a journal article

order a book or other media

What is Interlibrary Loan (ILL)?

Interlibrary Loan Service is a resource sharing system. It provides a Fitzgerald Library user with access to the collections of other cooperating libraries. This service includes the loaning of books or audio-visual materials and journal articles. To use the ILL service, you must have a valid SMU identification card.


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Who may use this service?

All St. Mary's University faculty, staff, and currently enrolled students holding a valid SMU identification card. This service is not available to holders of guest cards.


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How do I request materials through Interlibrary Loan?

Before you order a journal article through interlibrary loan please use "Journals A-Z" to check to see if the article is available in full text in one of St. Mary's online databases or in print. For books or AV materials check our MnPALS Fitz Catalog to be sure we do not own the title. If our library does not have the item you need, you may request an interlibrary loan in several different ways:

  • Blank Form: Use the Interlibrary Loan Request Form to order a journalorder a book. You will be asked to log in to MnPALS to bring up the form. Use your SMU user name and password. Fill in as much information as you can about the item you need (author, title, edition, date, etc.). All starred boxes must be filled in before the request can be submitted. Be sure to check the copyright restrictions box.

  • Library databases: Click on click on full text icon Full Text Options - Saint Mary's University at the bottom of the article description to get to an ILL request form. You will need to log in to get to the request form. The form will be all filled out; all you need to do is check the copyright restriction box and then "Submit."

  • MnPALS Union Catalog ("All Libraries"): The MnPALS Union catalog searches the catalogs of a variety of Minnesota colleges and universities including St. Cloud State, Mankato, St. John's, Winona, Concordia, and Gustavus. To order click on "Login" under the "Request Item" menu at the bottom of the book record. You will need to login with your SMU user name and password. Then "Login" turns into "Request." Click on "Request," check the copyright restriction box, and then "Submit."

  • WorldCAT: WorldCAT searches libraries worldwide. Click on "full text button Find it at SMU" to order books that are not in our library. You will need to log in to get to the request form. The form will be all filled out; all you need to do is check the copyright restriction box and then "Submit."

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What can I borrow through ILL?

You may request Interlibrary Loan service if the Fitzgerald Library does not own the item you need. Books, copies of articles in journals or magazines, government documents, conference proceedings, and are typically are available. Some videos and some dissertations and theses may be borrowed, but, since each library sets its own policy about what it will lend, some limitations may apply.

Materials generally not available through ILL:

  • Textbooks
  • Entire issues of magazines or journals
  • Reference books
  • Rare books or original manuscripts
  • Entertainment movies, popular music, and fiction titles that are in constant demand*

*To obtain entertainment movies, popular music, and titles in constant demand we recommend using the local public library.

Items found in our library catalog which are owned by the St Mary's University Twin Cities are available for interlibrary loan. Check with a librarian to place the order.


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How long will it take to get my article or book?

Most book requests arrive within 1-3 weeks depending on the location of the lending library and the nature of the request. Copies of journal articles may arrive within a few days. ILL staff will process your request as soon as received, but be sure to allow enough time in your "need by" date for another library to be located and for the request to be processed and delivered.
If the material does not arrive by your “need by” date we will cancel your request.


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How will I know when my request has arrived?

When your request comes into the library you will receive a notification by e-mail. Book requests will be held for you at the Circulation Desk. You will need to present your St. Mary's ID card to check books or AV materials out. Journal articles will be e-mailed to you directly. If the article comes from Minitex, you will have access to it for 7 days, after which time the access password will expire.

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When are ILL items due back?

Lending libraries determine due dates for the materials they lend. Most loan periods are about 3 weeks. Due dates are indicated on the bookmark that will accompany your request and online in the MnPALS catalog in "My Account."


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How can I check the status of my ILL request?

Log on to the MnPALS catalog and click on "My Account" and then "ILL Requests."


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How can I request a renewal?

Log on to the MnPALS catalog and click on "My Account and then "ILL Requests." Click on the number next to the item you wish to renew and then click renew.  Check back in a few days to see if your request has been okayed. A new due date should appear.  Loan periods and renewal decisions are made by the lending library. While many libraries grant renewals, some may not.


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What ILL services are available to distance graduate students?

Fitzgerald Library provides limited ILL services to St. Mary's University students who are enrolled as distance graduate students. Journal articles, which are requested by distance students, will be e-mailed directly to the student. Books will be ordered for distance students only if they live close enough to pick up and return the books at the Fitzgerald Library. Other distance students are asked to use the interlibrary loan services of their local libraries to obtain books.


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Whom do I call for more information?

Rachel Thomas
Interlibrary Loan Librarian
(507) 457 1489


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