Skip to Main Content

InterLibrary Loan & Document Delivery Policies and Procedures: FAQs

This guide provides information about the InterLibrary Loan and Document Delivery functions that Healey Library serves to its patrons.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long does it take?

This all depends on which library has the item, if they are willing to lend it out, if it is in use by their patrons, how far away they are, what kind of shipping they use, as well as many other factors.

The average turnaround time for articles and book chapter is 3-4 business days. However, some hard to find or hard to process articles and book chapters may take longer.

Books take longer than articles. Those from nearby libraries often come in a few days, but one week to ten days is usual. Rare and special materials often take longer, and sometimes no library is able to lend those. 

How do you contact me?

Notifications of available items and other interlibrary loan correspondence are sent to to your UMass Boston email address.

Where do I pick up my items and how long will they be there?

Physical ILL items can be picked up at the circulation desk in Healey Library, or via our curbside program by appointment.    

Articles can be viewed online via your interlibrary loan account. They are available for 30 days from the time that you are notified after which they are deleted automatically so it is a good idea to save it as soon as you receive it.

Where do I return my items?

  • Contact-free curbside returns, by appointment only.
  • Mail, UPS, FedEx*.
    Please address packages accordingly.
    We strongly recommend adding tracking to your package.
    Healey Library at UMass Boston
    100 Morrissey Blvd
    Boston, MA, 02125

Who is eligible?

You are eligible to use interlibrary loan if you are a currently enrolled student, a faculty member, or an employee at UMass Boston with a library account in good standing.

If you have significantly overdue or lost ILL materials you will be blocked from borrowing more until all overdue items are returned, and any associated balances are paid. 

Is there a charge?

At present, there is no charge for using interlibrary loan. However, if you lose a physical item, you will be charged for its replacement cost. This amount is determined by the lending library, but a replacement fee of $100 is typical.

What can I request?

You can request the following types of items through interlibrary loan.

  • Items that are not owned by Healey Library

  • Items that are checked out or missing

  • Books, CDs, DVDs, videos, articles, book chapters, theses, conference papers, etc.

If you request an item that is checked out or missing, please indicate this information in the "notes" field of the interlibrary loan request form.

How many items can I request?

You can request an unlimited number of physical books and DVDs.  Just make sure to keep track of due dates!

Per ILL copyright law, article requests are limited to one article per person per journal issue. The Healey ILL department can request no more than five articles (for the entire library--not just for an individual) from the same journal title published during the most current five years (2019-2023), in a single calendar year.  If you submit more than the one allowed per issue, we will reach out to confirm which you would like to receive.  If you do not respond, we will process the first request that was submitted and cancel the remaining requests. 

How long is the loan period?

The due date for a physical item is located on the book band. This date is assigned by the lending library and varies depending on the lending library's loan policies. One month is a typical interlibrary loan period.

Why has my book been recalled?

Sometimes a lending library will recall a book that it has lent out via ILL. This happens when the item is needed by one of their students or professors.

This means that the borrowing period will be cut short and the book must be returned right away. We will send you an email message telling you that the book has been recalled and that the due date has changed.

Please return the item as quickly as you can, this helps us maintain a good relationship with the lending library so we can continue borrowing from them in the future.

If you still need that item you might try ordering it again via ILL and we will do our best to get it from another library.

Can I cancel a request?

That depends. If we catch the request before a potential lending library receives it, we can cancel it. We can also cancel the request if it is "between" libraries. If the lending library has already shipped the item it is too late. Please let us know if you wish to cancel a request, and we will try to get to it in time. It helps us save staff time and costs. If not, when you get an email letting you know that it has arrived, please let us know that you no longer need this item.

Why can't I log in?

To make use of Interlibrary Loan, you will need a UMass Boston email address. Email accounts are created automatically upon enrollment or employment. Read more about email activation here.

You can always reach out to see if your account is up to date by contacting the circulation department at 617.287.5900 or

Is there a way I can get items faster?

Yes, if you include the ISBN or ISSN numbers as well as a complete citation in your request form, this can speed up its delivery time.  We use an automated service called RAPID to process all new requests; if you provide a complete citation, it will automatically be sent out to be filled without our staff needing to interact with it.  This means article requests can be filled after hours or on weekends!  

ISBN (International Standard Book Number) is a unique identifier for books.

ISSN (International Standard Serial Number) is a unique identifier for journals, magazines, newspapers, and other periodicals.

What do the different statuses mean in my ILLiad account?

Request SentYour request has been sent to a list of potential lenders and we are awaiting confirmation that one is able to supply it.  Sometimes there are only a few libraries to try, sometimes there are dozens or hundreds of libraries that own the same book. 

Awaiting Unfilled Processing - The request has been returned unfilled. ILL staff will continue searching for the item through our resources until all efforts has been exhausted.

Awaiting Renewal Response - Your request for a renewal has been sent to the lender and we are waiting to hear back from them to see if the renewal has been granted.

See the full list here!

How do I renew an item?

In order to renew an interlibrary loan book, you must first check the book-band around your book to see if there are any statements from the lending library that renewals are not allowed. Certain libraries will not allow renewals, which is indicated on the book band.

If there are no statements regarding renewals on the book band, you may be able to renew your book. Renewals are granted by the lending library and are usually accepted only before the due dates passes. Sometimes, if your book is a couple of days overdue, you can ask for a renewal through the system.

If the lending library allows renewal requests:

  • Log in to ILLiad

  • Click on the transaction number of the book you wish to renew.

  • At the top of the screen there should be “Renew Request.” Click on that & the request to renew will be generated.

  • If you do not see in red “Renew Request” at the top of the request, you may contact the InterLibrary Loan office at

How will I know if my renewal request has been granted?

Notifications of your renewal status are sent to the email you specify in your ILLiad account. The new due date is determined by lending library and may different from the original date you requested.
If the lending library denys your renew request, you must return the item before the due date.

Healey Library | University of Massachusetts Boston | 100 Morrissey Blvd | Boston, MA | 02125-3393 | 617-287-5900