Interlibrary Loan Service Frequently Asked Questions

Have you identified a title of a journal article, book, or other important resource that Mercy College does not own? Don’t settle for what is on hand.  You may request an interlibrary loan (ILL). We will borrow a hard copy or secure an electronic copy of a title from another library for you.

Who can use the ILL service?
Current Mercy College students, faculty, and staff may use ILL.

Are there any limitations?
You cannot request items that Mercy College owns but are on reserve. You cannot request textbooks.  Some items, such as movies, music, recently-published books, bestsellers, and rare materials can be difficult to obtain as many libraries do not lend them through ILL.

Is there a cost for the service?
There is no charge for most loans.  If we are not able to borrow an item free of charge, we will contact you for your approval before committing to pay for any item.  Mercy College will not cover the cost for the loan itself.  There is never a surcharge for the service.

How many items can I request?
Students may have 5 active ILL requests at a time. A request is active from when you submit it until it is returned to the lending library (for hard copy items) or delivered to your ILL account (for PDFs). Currently, there is no limit on the number of requests for faculty and staff.

How can I request an item?
First, make sure that Mercy College Library does not own the item by searching the Current Journal List (for articles by entering the journal name) or the Mercy College Library Catalog (for books). If the Library does not own it, send an email request to Include your contact information and the complete bibliographic information (typically what would be included in an APA reference) for each item you would like us to ILL.

When will my items arrive? How will I know?
Articles and electronic documents typically arrive in less than 5 days. Hard copy items (primarily books) typically arrive within 10 days. Items that are difficult to obtain may take longer. You will receive an email or a call from the library informing you that your items are ready to be picked up at the library’s main desk.  Electronic documents are delivered directly to you via email.

How long can I keep ILL items?
Your hard copy item will come with a paper slip indicating the due date, which is decided by the lending library. Most items can be borrowed for about four weeks. Please keep the slip that comes with your item, as this makes it easier for ILL staff to process your items once they are returned.

May I renew materials borrowed through interlibrary loan?
You may request a renewal by emailing us at