How Do I...?
Request an Interlibrary Loan
There may be times when you want to check out an item not owned by the Chicago Public Library System. The Library’s interlibrary loan service can borrow a title not found in the collection and have it sent to a Chicago Public Library location for you.
Who may request an interlibrary loan (ILL)?
Any CPL cardholder in good standing who is a Chicago resident may request an interlibrary loan. Reciprocal borrowers must use their home libraries to make an interlibrary loan request.
What can be requested?
You may request books, articles, educational audiovisual materials or microfilm reels.
What cannot be requested?
- Any item owned by the Chicago Public Library, including reference material
- Any new items published within the past six months, including those not ordered by CPL
- Entertainment videos, DVDs or CDS
- Computer programs, including “Rosetta Stone.”
How do I submit my request?
Fill out the ILL form available at any Chicago Public Library location.
How much does this cost?
The Library makes every effort to obtain materials at no cost. However, some libraries charge a lending fee and CPL must pass on these fees to the requesting patron.
- All free sources will be exhausted before using locations that charge.
- To approve a fee: Write the amount you are willing to pay in the Maximum Borrowing Charge Acceptable section of the order form.
- The Library recommends approving at least a $10 fee for all materials.
- Most requests for copies from medical periodicals require a fee approval of at least $10.
- If you will not approve any charge, write $0.
- If you do not pick up an item for which a fee has been approved, your account will still be charged.
How long will it take?
While requests to other libraries are made within one to two working days, items usually take two to six weeks to arrive. It may take up to 20 working days to learn that no library will supply the material.
If your deadline is urgent, please ask a librarian or use WorldCat to find the title at a reciprocal library or another area library for in-house use of the item.
How many titles can I request?
An ILL request counts toward the total number of holds pending that you are allowed. The Library does not request other libraries to supply materials in excess of CPL’s own borrowing policy item limits.
How long can I keep an ILL item?
Loan periods are determined by the lending library. There are no renewals.
Questions? Contact the Interlibrary Loan Center at (312) 747-4344 between 9:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. Monday through Friday.