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SUNY Empire Library: How to Use Interlibrary Loan (video)

A list of Frequently Asked Questions and their answers is available further down this page.

What is interlibrary loan?

Interlibrary loan is a service that allows members of one library to borrow journal articles, book chapters, and other digital materials from other libraries.

Eligibility to use interlibrary loan:

  • Do you have a SUNY Empire login and password? Then YES!

Available through interlibrary loan:

  • book chapters
  • journal, magazine and newspaper articles
  • conference proceedings

Not available through interlibrary loan:

  • any physical materials, including books
  • textbooks
  • whole ebooks
  • multivolume sets
  • government documents
  • theses and dissertations
  • rare books
  • archival materials
  • microfilm/microfiche
  • software

Request an item:

  1. First, check to see if the item you want is available through the SUNY Empire Library using OneSearch (on the library homepage.)
  2. If you haven't registered already, click "Register;" if you already are registered, skip to step 4.
  3. Complete your information and submit the form.
  4. Go back and click the log-in link.
  5. Enter the citation information for the item you want and submit the form.
  6. Watch for notification emails.

Renew an item:

All materials are delivered electronically. Download them before 30 days have elapsed, and they are yours to keep.


Requesting Items

What is interlibrary loan?

It's an ongoing cooperative resource-sharing project that allows all SUNY Empire students, staff and faculty to request digital materials from libraries within the IDS project (which includes all SUNY libraries, and others.)

How can I ensure that my request is processed as quickly as possible?

First confirm that the materials you are requesting are not already available to you through our Library's own collections. Give as much information as possible about the materials you are requesting, including:

  • Book chapters:
    • author's full name
    • full title
    • publication date
    • edition, if applicable
  • Articles:
    • author's full name
    • full title of journal
    • full title of article
    • publication date
    • volume and issue
    • page numbers 

Is there a charge or fee for interlibrary loan?

Borrowers are not charged for using Interlibrary Loan. The costs are covered by SUNY Shared Library Services.

Is there a limit or quota on how much I can use interlibrary loan?

Not anymore.

Can I request software using interlibrary loan?

No. The reason is that most software comes with a specific number of licenses. The library that lends the software wouldn't be able to regulate who had it installed at any one time, so it would be in danger of copyright infringement. You can purchase software that is required for your courses from the SUNY Empire bookstoreAcademic Superstore also offers an often-substantial student/educator discount on software.

I used to be able to request books? Why can't I?

Under the current budget situation, the ILL book delivery program was too expensive and we had to put it on hiatus. You can still request one chapter from a book, which will be delivered electronically.

You can also go to any SUNY or NY community college library and use your SUNY Empire photo ID to borrow books. Please call ahead to inquire about parking options and current masking policies.

Technical and Access Issues

How do I register to use ILL/for an ILL account?

Click the Login link at the top of the Interlibrary Loan page. It will take you to the SUNY Empire login screen. If it is your first time accessing Interlibrary Loan, you'll arrive at the New User Registration to fill out, and then you'll be able to make electronic requests right away.
Your account is directly tied to your SUNY Empire login - you cannot create a second or separate account.

Why do I need a username and password to use ILL?

Your username and password allow us to give you secure access to information about your interlibrary loan requests. You also can edit your contact and shipping information. 

What if I forget my password?

If you forget your password, then you will need to contact ITS, because it is the password for your institutional login.

What Web browser should I use?

Safari, Firefox, Chrome, and Microsoft Edge are fine. 

Why does my browser say that you're sending a cookie? What does it do?

The webpage sends a session ID to be stored on your machine so the system will recognize your computer, reducing the number of times you have to log in in the future. You can refuse this cookie and still be able to use ILLiad without any problems.

How do I get Adobe Acrobat Reader?

Adobe Acrobat Reader is available without charge from Adobe Systems, Inc. You can get Adobe Reader at this link.



Getting Requested Items

How will I be notified?

You must submit a valid email address to receive notification of the status of your request. You also will receive notifications of cancellations, due dates, recalls and overdue notices. 

Why was my request was cancelled?

Requests may be cancelled for a number of reasons:

  • The item may be available through our Library. 
  • The item may not be obtainable through any source available to our Library.
  • It may be a kind of material that is not provided through the interlibrary loan service, like physical materials.
  • It may be too expensive to obtain.

How will I receive my materials?

Journal articles and some book chapters will be made available to you to read and download through the ILL system. You will need the free, downloadable software application Adobe Reader to open these PDF documents. For more information, refer to the detailed information below on electronic delivery.

How long can I keep the materials?

Download and save your files and you may keep them forever. 

May I renew materials?

You do not need to, because all materials are digital. You should download and save them within 30 days or they will be automatically deleted, but once you save them, you can keep them forever.

How do I get my articles and book chapters when they arrive?

  1. Log in to the library's ILL site.
  2. From the main menu, click Electronically Received Articles under View Requests. A list will be displayed containing all of the items that you have waiting to be viewed or downloaded. 

How do I know which requests will be electronically delivered?

All items will be electronically delivered. You will receive an automated email notification for each item received. 

What is electronic delivery?

Through ILLiad, you will receive articles and book chapters as PDF files, and you can download them. You can read more about electronic delivery on ILLiad's electronic delivery information page. 

How do I know if my computer can receive electronic articles?

You will need a PDF reader, such as Adobe Acrobat Reader installed and configured to work with your Web browser in order to view, download and print these articles. If you can read the sample page, then your computer has the necessary software installed to work with your Web browser. However, if your computer tells you the file type is unknown and asks if you want to save the file to disk, then you need to install the Adobe Acrobat Reader software. 

What if I have questions about electronic delivery?

Please fill out the Ask a Librarian Form

Why don't I see all my older requests when I look at my request history?

From time to time the librarians purge older records from ILLiad.

My materials haven't arrived. What do I do?

Has it been less than 48 hours? If so, then don't worry because they may have been hard to find, so they are still being processed.

You can fill out the Ask a Librarian Form about missing items.


Returning Requested Materials


How do I return my materials?

You do not need to return the digital materials that you receive.

Will I be fined for overdue materials?

There are no due dates, so you will not incur any fines.

Can materials that I have out be recalled?

No. Digital materials are yours to keep forever. Just remember to download and save them within 30 days of receiving them. 




How do I update my name, address, email address or phone number?

  1. Log in via Interlibrary Loan.
  2. In the left column under Tools, click Change Personal Information.
  3. Modify your information as needed and click Submit Information. The changes will take effect immediately.

If you have moved, you must change your address in the system or you will not receive materials that are shipped to you.

Whom do I contact if I have problems with, or questions about, ILLiad?

Please fill out the Ask a Librarian Form.