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Request a Book Not at Illinois

Quick Help

Search the I-Share catalog for books not found at Illinois. 

Place your request for an I-Share item. You will receive an email when your item is ready for pickup.

If the item you need is not available in I-Share, you can use Worldcat. Plan ahead, this process can take 2-3 weeks.
Even though the Library has over 12 million volumes, there are books that we do not own in our collection. As a University-affiliate, you have access to all of the academic library collections in the state of Illinois as well as institutions across the country. 

When attempting to find books, you can imagine the options available to you as a series of concentric circles:

The universe of books available to Illinois students and staff

The basic idea is to start in the center with the Illinois catalog, and then work your way out until you find what you need.

  1. If you haven't already done so, the first step is to confirm that Illinois doesn't have a copy of the book you need. You can do this using the online catalog (see tips on finding specific books).
  2. If the book is not available in our collection, then you can request the book through I-Share.

Searching the I-Share catalog

  1. If you look up a book in the Illinois catalog, you may find that Illinois owns a copy, but it's checked out. In these cases, you can expand the search results by clicking the Show all libraries link under Facets Now Applied to the right of your search results: Show all libraries Clicking this link will show you which other libraries in the I-Share catalog own the title, and whether it's available at any of them.
  2. If your search in the Illinois catalog doesn't turn up anything at all, you can re-run the search in the I-Share catalog by clicking the Repeat search in the I-Share catalog link: Repeat Search in I-Share
  3. You can also search the I-Share catalog directly. The procedure for searching this catalog is the same as for searching the Illinois VuFind catalog (see VuFind Searching Tips).
  4. Once you've located the book you need, you're ready to place your request. Verify that a copy is available at one or more libraries:  Available in I-Share
  5. Click the Request 1st Available tab:  Request 1st available
  6. If you are not already logged in to the catalog, login with your VuFind username and password. If you haven't created a username and password for the VuFind or I-Share catalog, click the Create new account link. For more information on creating an account in the VuFind catalog, see How to Create a VuFind Account.   Login or Create new I-Share Account
  7. On the next screen you will see that the system has selected an available copy. Here you can select the pick-up library (this will default to the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign) as well as which library on campus you would like the book sent to. By default, it will be sent to the Central Access Services desk on the 2nd floor of the Main Library. (If you are a faculty member or graduate student, you can also select "Illinois Campus Mail" to have the book sent to your office address.)
    Complete I-Share Request
  8. Click Request. Books usually take about 7-10 days to arrive, and you will receive an email at your Illinois.edu address when your request is available for pickup. This service is free for Illinois students and staff.

Interlibrary loan: requesting a book not available through I-Share

In rare cases you won't be able to find a book in either the Illinois catalog or the I-Share catalog. When this happens, you can request the book through either WorldCat or  Interlibrary Loan.

Placing a request through Worldcat

  1. You can place Interlibrary loan requests directly through WorldCat, a shared catalog for thousands of libraries throughout the world. Once you locate the item you need in WorldCat, click the Request a Loan link: The Request a Loan link in WorldCat
  2. You'll then be prompted to enter your NetID and Active Directory password. A form will pop up with all the details for the book already filled in; just click Submit Request to ILLiad.

Interlibrary Loan Book Request Form

  1. You can also request books by filling out a form on the Interlibrary Loan page. From the main page, click Login to My Account:
  2. You'll then be prompted for your NetID and Active Directory password. Every student and faculty member has an ILLiad account set up for them, you only need to login. On the next screen, click Request a Book and fill in the necessary details. Login to your ILLiad account

Important things to note about Interlibrary loan requests:

  • Items usually take 2-3 weeks to arrive, so plan ahead!
  • You'll receive an email with a pickup location when the item is available.
  • This service is free for Illinois students and staff.
  • Interlibrary Loan cannot obtain course textbooks. (If you need to use a textbook, please check with the Media and Reserves Center at the Undergraduate Library--many course texts are on reserve here.)

Check out some of our other tutorials:

Are you looking for a particular article that isn't available at Illinois?