How to Use ILL

Interlibrary loan (ILL) can be very useful when doing your research. It gives you access to nearly anything in print; however, you should use ILL carefully and thoughtfully.  The library allows you TEN free requests each semester.  A $2.00 charge will be assessed for each additional request, including resubmitted requests and requests for items that are owned by the UMW Libraries.


  • Make sure that you have enough time before the assignment is due. ILLs often take a couple of weeks to come in.
  • Read book reviews and other synopses to ensure that the item will be useful. not only has synopses of most books, but you can often access the table of contents, the index, and an excerpt from the site.  [Although Amazon’s resources are helpful in determining the usefulness of a source for your own work, be aware that the site’s reviews are rarely scholarly in nature.]
  • If you still believe that the item will be useful, check the UMW online catalog to see if the library already owns it.
  • If not, go to First Search in the library databases and find the item.
  • Double check to make sure that the item is NOT in the UMW library collections. Items in the collection are clearly marked
  • Make sure that the item is in English.
  • Do not base your entire project around an ILL, as you will not be allowed to keep the item all semester.