Interlibrary Loan / Albert S. Cook Library

Interlibrary Loan (ILL) Services

What is Interlibrary Loan (ILL)?

The ILL department helps provide you with those full-length materials not available in our local Cook Library collection or in our state university system (USMAI). ILL can also be used to obtain shorter-length materials (i.e., articles and book chapters) from other libraries in USMAI and beyond – usually in electronic format.

When considering an ILL request, follow these steps:

  1. Check the Cook Library catalog to see if we own the item. Many items are available immediately, whether in physical or electronic format.
  2. For full-length items (like books), check the USMAI library catalog. If owned by another Maryland system library, that item can be requested directly from the catalog record and quickly sent to Towson for pick-up.
  3. For any items not found by the above steps, please place an ILL request via ILLiad.

What can I borrow?

Patrons may request:

  • books
  • articles
  • materials on microfilm
  • multimedia required for research
  • and many other types of materials

Please note that these items may difficult to borrow:

  • genealogy materials
  • music scores
  • corporate technical reports and other in-house reports
  • some high-demand and/or recent publications
  • theses and dissertations: a few universities do not loan them or restrict their use when they do

What cannot be borrowed?

Items such as these are not available through ILL:

  • items owned by another USMAI library
  • textbooks
  • reference materials
  • entire issues of journals, magazines, and newspapers
  • old (published prior to 1800) or rare books
  • record albums
  • software
  • CDs, audio cassettes, video cassettes/DVDs, - for recreational use (for these items please try a video rental store or a public library)
  • leisure or recreational reading (please consult your local public library)
  • fragile or bulky items
  • Items too difficult or too expensive to send

What if I need a dissertation or thesis?

  1. Request the item through ILLiad by choosing "Thesis" under "New Request".
    We make every effort to borrow requested dissertations as we would any other item. Unfortunately, this is not often possible. When it is not, and you still need the item, we will assess whether the dissertation is of likely value in the Cook Library permanent collection. If so, we will purchase the dissertation for the collection. It should be noted, though, that processing of dissertations for the collection takes some time, so the item may not be available to the requesting patron immediately.
  2. Contact the Resource Sharing librarian (410-704-5053) if the item is critical to your research and you need the item more quickly. There may be other local resources of help to you.
  3. Consider purchasing the item directly from UMI Dissertation Express

NOTE: Placing a request from Dissertation Abstracts is not the same as requesting the dissertation itself. You will only receive a short summary of the dissertation with a request from Dissertation Abstracts.

What is ILLiad?

  • ILLiad is the online service you use to request a book or article that the library does not own. See the ILLIad FAQ for more information.
  • To create an ILLiad account, go to the ILLiad Login page. When creating an account, please complete the form carefully. Pay special attention to the "Status" and "Department" fields. (Regarding status, if your classes are held at an off-campus site or if all your classes are online and you live more than 25 miles from the Towson campus, please choose a "Distance Ed" status.)

How do I access ILLiad?

You can access ILLiad several ways:

  • Login using the login box to the right on this page
  • Login now at the Illiad login page
  • Use the ILLiad Login link from the Quick Tools on the Cook Library website
  • Download the Cook Library toolbar for Internet Explorer and Firefox and have access anytime regardless of the website you are visiting

How do I retrieve or reset my password?

You can reset your password using the following link:

After entering your username, you will receive an email containing a link that will allow you to reset your password. Follow the link and enter the password you wish to use. Emails will be sent to the email address associated with your ILLiad account.

How long does it take to get a loan?

Most items are received within ten days to two weeks. The ILL Office staff makes every effort to obtain materials by the requested deadline. Please keep in mind that the ILL Office will not borrow bulky or fragile items that are difficult or too expensive to send.

How much does it cost to get a loan?

Usually, there is no charge for ILL requests. In rare cases, due to a high number of requests or the amount a lending library may charge, either the individual or the department (for faculty) will be required to absorb the cost.

How do I make a request?

You make and manage you requests using the ILLiad system. To use ILLiad, you must create an ILLiad account. When creating an account, please complete the form carefully. Pay special attention to the "Status" and "Department" fields. (Regarding status, if all your classes are held at an off-campus site or if all your classes are online and you live more than 25 miles from the Towson campus, please choose a "Distance Ed" status.)

When submitting a request, select the proper source type from the "New Request" menu on the left. For example, choose "Photocopy" for articles and "Thesis" for dissertations or theses. When completing the request form, please complete all the required fields and any other fields for which you find information.


  • Make sure full-length items like books are not already owned by Cook or a USMAI library. If they are, the request will be cancelled and getting your items will take longer. For USMAI-owned items, place your request directly from the USMAI catalog.
  • For articles, check the Journal List to see whether we own the periodical or not before requesting.
  • Whenever possible, provide an ISBN/ISSN; it is the best way to insure you get the item you want.
  • Avoid using abbreviations when completing the request form.
  • Do not simply cut and paste citations into the notes field. Fill out the form field by field.
  • Fill out the "Where did you learn about this item?" part. It helps our staff find exact material when citations are unclear.

How do I renew a book ?

  • Login to your ILLIAD account
  • On the left side of the screen under View, click on "Check out items"
  • Click on the transaction number of the book
    • If a renewal is allowed, "Renew Request" will appear above the transaction information
    • Click on this link. The message "Item renewed with a due date of day/month/year” will appear
  • The book is temporarily renewed for one week, while we wait for the lending library to respond
  • Once the lending library responds (usually within one week) the new due date will be emailed to you

TIP: To get the maximum renewal period, wait until the book due date is two days away. (e.g. if the book is due March 25th, wait until March 23rd to request a renewal)

NOTE: If the book band is labeled "No Renewals" then it cannot be renewed. Once a book is overdue, it may not be renewed.

What are the borrowing guidelines?


Please watch your email for notification of when your request is available.

  • Most articles/book chapters are made available electronically through ILLiad.
  • Full-length items and microfilm are held behind the circulation desk for pick-up.
  • NOTE: Items not retrieved from circulation within a week of notification may be returned to the lender.
  • If you find the printed due date for your item is too near, please either renew the item through ILLiad or contact the ILL office (410-704-3292).

Borrowing Restrictions

The lending libraries set the borrowing terms for their items -- including loan periods. They may also require that items be restricted to use in Cook Library, for example, or that renewals be unavailable for certain items. Please be aware that such restrictions may apply.

Returning Items

The due date for full-length items can be found on the stickered paper sleeve accompanying the item. Please return materials to circulation by this date. Usually, overdue notices are sent by email, but items long overdue will result in your account being automatically blocked and your ILL service suspended.

If your account is blocked, please contact the ILL office (410-704-3292) to ask any questions and resolve the situation.


Because textbooks are typically needed for the duration of a semester and because typical lending periods are much shorter than that, the ILL library staff will cancel any requests for titles which are found on a course’s bookstore textbook list and which also appear to be intended for semester-long use.

Should a book be listed for a class but only needed for a very temporary period (no more than 3 weeks), please contact the Resource Sharing Librarian (410-704-5053 or and explain the situation. We will contact the instructor and confirm before placing an order for the book.

Login to ILLiad

Contact Us!

Office: CK314
Hours: M-F 9:00-5:00
Phone: 410-704-3292

ILL Staff

Jennifer Roach, Distance Learning Librarian


Emiko Ortega, Library Technician for ILL (Lending)


Eric Richardson, Library Technician for ILL (Borrowing)


Help Guides

Interlibrary Loan (ILL) Services / Albert S. Cook Library
Last revised: March 09, 2015

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