Interlibrary Loan (ILL)

What is Interlibrary Loan?

When Alverno College Library receives a request for an item it does not own, we first check our partner institutions to see if they will share the item with us. If our partner institutions do not have the item, we expand our search to a network of libraries around the country and sometimes around the world through a process called Interlibrary Loan (ILL).

ILL requests are typically for PDFs of articles/book chapters or for physical items like books or music scores. Due to copyright restrictions, we are unable to digitally receive copies of entire works such as books or journal issues.

Please note that we are not able to request textbooks assigned in active courses through ILL.

Requests can be made through TOPCAT. Some databases will include links to TOPCAT records for items that can be requested, but these records can also be accessed through a TOPCAT search using the "Everything" search (the default through the search bar on our homepage.)

If the item cannot be found in TOPCAT, requests can be made by filling out the Article Request or Physical Item Request form. 

  • PDFs of articles and book chapters can typically be obtained within a few business days.
  • Physical items can take up to two weeks to arrive depending on response times from lending institutions and the speed of shipping via USPS book mail. Physical items from nearby institutions often arrive in much less than two weeks, but we are unable to guarantee receipt of physical materials by any particular date regardless of the lending institution.
  • PDFs of articles and book chapters are emailed to students as a link with a password that will work five times. We recommend downloading the PDF as soon as you open the link to avoid the password timing out.
  • Physical items will be held at the Library Help Desk for 10 days. Patrons will receive multiple emails reminding them to pick up their items. If you cannot pick up your item within 10 days, please reach out to the ILL Librarian, Sebastian Black, at
  • Physical items can be returned to the library book drops like normal.
  • Items borrowed through ILL are subject to the circulation policies of the lending institution, including loan periods.
  • Although Alverno College Library does not charge overdue fines on many items, ILL items are subject to the fines and fees in place at the lending institution, including lost/damaged item fees. It is the patron’s responsibility to return ILL items on time and any fines and fees accrued will be charged to the patron’s account and are non-negotiable.
  • Excessive ILL charges will result in a hold placed on an Alverno student's account that will prevent them from enrolling in classes and applying for graduation. If an ILL item is lost, damaged, or unable to be returned on time, the patron is encouraged to contact the ILL Librarian, Sebastian Black, at
  • Materials obtained via ILL may typically only be renewed once, but renewals are at the discretion of the lending institution and patrons must request renewals before the due date to allow the lending institution time to grant or reject the renewal request.