Rights and Responsibilities

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Rights and Responsibilities of Users and Staff of Interlibrary Loan Services

Interlibrary Loan (ILL) services are provided for current students, staff, faculty (current and emeriti), domestic partners of faculty and staff, and visiting scholars with valid Northwestern University Wildcards at no fee to the user.

The ILL department goes to all reasonable lengths to obtain materials for users as quickly as possible and will pay associated fees to lending libraries.

The ILL User has the right to:

  • Make ILL requests at any time day or night via the web while they are affiliated with Northwestern University
  • Call, e-mail, or visit the ILL office to ask questions
  • Request materials from other libraries if the item in question is unavailable at Northwestern University Libraries
  • Request renewals for items already obtained through ILL if there is not a “No Renewals” restriction set by the lending library
  • Request the same item at a later date
  • Make arrangements with the Interlibrary Loan office to pick up materials at the Circulation Desk when ILL is not open


The ILL User has the responsibility to:

  • Provide a valid Northwestern e-mail address for arrival notification and article delivery
  • Check NUcat for item availability in a Northwestern University library
  • Present a valid Wildcard when items are picked up from the ILL service desk
  • Return loaned items on time to the ILL desk or another library book drop
  • Make requests for item renewal by the time the item is due
  • Provide clear, precise, and complete citation information on ILL requests
  • Report problems with electronically delivered articles as soon as possible
  • Pick up books, DVDs and other returnable items as soon as possible after receiving the email notice of arrival
  • Follow copyright restrictions on video and audio materials obtained through ILL
  • Not remove from the library materials with the “In Library Use Only” restriction notice
  • Respect the fact that ILL materials do not belong to Northwestern University Library and they must be returned promptly


Staff of the ILL department has the right to:

  • Send loaned materials back to the lending library if the user does not pick-up the item by the due date
  • Request more information from the user in order to properly process ILL requests
  • Cancel requests for items that are available in the library – particularly Core and Reserve materials, and items that are available through full-text online journals
  • Block patrons from checking out library and ILL materials if the user has overdue or recalled items that need to be returned. When the item(s) in question are returned, circulation privileges will be restored.


Staff of the ILL department has the responsibility to:

  • Diligently search for and attempt to obtain all requested items
  • Provide the fastest possible turn-around time based on staff resources and lending libraries availability and policies
  • Contact the user promptly when requested items have arrived
  • Contact the user promptly when an article or other material cannot be obtained through ILL
  • Assist patrons in making ILL requests
  • Charge patrons the same amount of money other libraries charge NU for lost book and processing fees
  • Provide request status information when asked
  • Answer user questions to the best of their ability
  • Investigate and adopt new methods and products to enhance ILL productivity