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Interlibrary Loan: Interlibrary Loan

Interlibrary Loan

Interlibrary Loans (ILL) is the process by which libraries share materials with each other. ILL is meant to be used when HSL does not own an item and cannot provide an adequate substitute.

When to use Interlibrary Loan

Interlibrary Loans takes TIME and RESOURCES.  Consider the following before submitting an ILL request: 

1.) Have you completed a thorough search to see if Holy Spirit Library has other resources that would fit your research needs just as well?

  • For books, did you check cavalog (our catalog) to see what is in our collection?  
  • For articles,  have you tried limiting your search to "full-text " (see articles page)? 
  • For books and articles, have you visited the Reference Desk or contacted the desk via chat or by calling 610-902-8537?

2.) Have you checked to see if your item can be found free online? 

  • If you are requesting a book,  have you searched  Google Books  for a free online version? 
  • If you are requesting an article, have you searched Google Scholar to see if it is available online for free?

3.) Is your assignment due in less than a week?

  • We ask that patrons consider whether an item will still be useful to them in a week before submitting a request as it can take this long for items to be received.  
  • More information regarding processing times can be found on the ILL FAQ's page


The copyright law of the United States (Title 17, United States Code) governs the making of photocopies or other reproductions of copyrighted material. Under certain conditions specified in the law, libraries and archives are authorized to furnish a photocopy or other reproduction. One of these specific conditions is that the photocopy or reproduction is not to be "used for any purpose other than private study, scholarship, or research." If a user makes a request for, or later uses, a photocopy or reproduction for purposes in excess of "fair use," that user may be liable for copyright infringement.

 In accordance with the guidelines of "fair use:" 

  • patrons may not request more than 2 articles from a single journal 
  • patrons may not request copies that are more than 2 chapters or 15% of a work (in this case students may request the loan of the book)

Consult a Librarian