Redefining the Classroom

Kenneth J. Shouldice Library Help Me!

Requesting items through Interlibrary Loan

Interlibrary loan is a procedure for borrowing books or obtaining articles that the LSSU Library does not own from other libraries. We are members of networks and consortia that share materials, and so have many libraries from which request materials. Keep in mind, not everyone will share everything, so just because you want it, doesn't mean we can get it. In particular, libraries often refuse to lend audio visual materials (CDs, DVDs, records, etc.), genealogy materials and dissertations and thesis. Hey, it's their stuff, if they don't want to loan it, it's their choice.


If you have identified a book that you would like on Interlibrary Loan, you have three ways to request it.
  1. MeLCat lets you request books from other libraries in Michigan. To use MeLCat, go to the site, search for your book, and click on the item's title. The next screen will show the bibliographic information about the item, AND list the libraries that own it, and whether the item is available or checked out. If you want the item, click on the "Get this for me!" link. The next screen asks you to identify your library. You must have a valid account to request a book. To have a valid LSSU account, you need to have checked out at least one book. Choose Lake Superior State University from the drop down menu, and click on the submit button. Type in your name, and the bar code from your student id. Click on the submit button, and your request has been sent. The system will deliver the book to the library and you'll receive an e-mail notice that the book has arrived. It won't hurt to ask at the Circulation Desk (the desk just inside the door to the library) every few days, though, until you actually receive the book.

    If you're from a town in Michigan, and you choose your home library, the book will be delivered to that library. That's where you need to return the book, too. Hey, it's a system, it's not a magic carpet or Mr. Scott's transporter.

  2. WorldCat is a product that lets you request books from libraries world wide, and is a great system to use if no MeLCat library owns the item. To request a book on WorldCat, you need to go to the list of databases. If you're on campus, go to WorldCat through this link, if you're off campus, you'll need to log into My.LSSU and go to the My Library tab. WorldCat is listed under the category "Catalogs."

    Once you're in WorldCat, look up the book. If there is more than one item listed, look at the results and note how many libraries own each version. Click on the link that says "Libraries Worldwide." See if any Michigan libraries own the item, or where the nearest library that does own the item is located. Obviously, it'll take less time for the book to get to you if you find an item that is located closer to LSSU. To get a copy of the book, you need to go into the item record for the book--you do that from the results screen, by clicking on the title of the book. Then look at the little black buttons across the top left side of the screen. Click on the one that says ILL. From there, you simply need to fill out the form and click on the submit button. Hint: Your "Patron ID" is the barcode number from your student ID.

  3. There are paper request forms available in the Library, on the shelves across from the Circulation Desk. Fill out a blue one to request a book or a yellow one to request a periodical article and turn it in to the folks at the Circulation Desk.


There are a number of ways to request Interlibrary Loan articles. Your first step, however, is to establish that the item isn't available full-text online from one of our databases, OR in our paper periodical collection.

To see if it's available onilne
In any of our databases (the ones for which we pay), if the item is available full text within that database, there should be a link to the full text, or just looking at the record should pull up the full text. In some of our databases, clicking on the item will take you directly to the full text. All of our databases have a "Search for full text" link. though the location of that link differs in different databases.

  • From on campus, if there is only one database that has the item, you should be taken directly to that article. From off campus, if there is only one database that has the item, a screen will most likely be generated within the alternate database, which will ask you for your login and password. There is no login or password for off campus access, at least not through this route. You may still be able to access the item if you recognize the database product that is asking for a userid and password, and if you go to that database through My.LSSU and the My Library tab, and then search for the article.
  • From on campus, if there is more than one database that has the item, a list of databases containing that item full-text should be presented, and you can choose a database, which will hopefully take you to the article, or to a list of issues from that publication, from which you may find the article you seek. From off campus, if there is more than one database that has the item, a list of databases containing that item full-text should be presented. You would need to switch to one of those databases through the My Library tab of My.LSSU, and search within that database.
  • If the library subscribes to the periodical in paper, that should be apparent from the results screen when you click on "Search for full text." Information about paper copies usually shows up right below the links that indicate any databases that offer that periodical in full text. If you click on the entry, the results should show you the years we own, of that periodical.

Is it mine?

If it's a copy of an article, yes. If it's a book or other original item, no. The loan period will be clearly listed on the tag on the cover of the book. (The tag, by the way, shouldn't be removed. It has the due date, and often a transaction number or other information so the book can be returned "home" safely.) Usually a book will be available for two weeks. If you wish to renew it, please contact Cris Roll ( or x2817) about getting an extension. Most libraries will allow a renewal, but some do not. Remember, it's their book, so it's their choice... maybe one of their own patrons has requested it. If you need it longer than the tag indicates, please contact Cris before the due date so she can work her magic.

How long will it take?

The project is due tomorrow, isn't it?

You can tell me, I'm your librarian.


It takes time to get things. If you don't have time, talk to a librarian. We may be able to guide you to sources that we do have. Otherwise, if you've requested an article, it will most likely arrive within a week, though sometimes it will arrive within a day or two.

Keep in mind, some things never come! Don't count on getting every item from some other library. Interlibrary Loan is best used to supplement materials housed in our library. If we don't have the majority of what you need to complete projects for your courses, you might be best served to choose a different topic. Our collection has been created to support our curriculum, so there are materials on campus for every program and every course--that guarantee is part of a course or program getting through the curriculum process! However, if you need something we don't have, most libraries are willing to share, so go ahead and ask!

What does this cost?

You're a skeptic aren't you... . The good news is that for students, this service is free! The sort-of-bad-news is that the American Library Association estimates that each ILL costs $35. So, if you request a few items that you really want, it costs you nothing, but it costs the library (your tuition) $35 each. We want you to get what you need, so we're quite willing to do the interlibrary loans, we simply ask that you be responsible and ask for what you'll use, and for you to make a reasonable number of requests.