Interlibrary Loan

Interlibrary loan (ILL) is the process and practice of requesting items from, or providing them to, another library. ILL allows you to provide your library users with items that are not in your own collection.

All RAILS libraries have delivery of ILL items available (within Illinois) without charge, as a benefit of system membership, through RAILS and the Illinois Library Delivery System.

Requesting Interlibrary Loans

Most interlibrary loan activity occurs among members of the same shared catalog consortium, and the requests are placed online as holds.

RAILS supports six shared catalogs in the RAILS service area. These Local Library System Automation Programs(LLSAPS) provide member libraries with a seamless interlibrary loan experience through a shared catalog. Libraries wishing to join a LLSAP may qualify for a RAILS Catalog Membership Grant.

Several options are available to request an ILL from outside of one's own shared catalog, or for standalone libraries to request items:

  • Find More Illinois provides a single discovery interface that draws from the online catalogs of participating libraries. Patrons and staff of participating libraries can log in to place requests items are delivered to the requesting library through the RAILS delivery service.
  • Members of SHARE Illinois catalogs can place holds directly through the other consortial online catalogs. PLEASE NOTE: SHARE Illinois will be going offline beginning October 30, 2021. Contact your consortium director for more information.
  • OCLC members can request items via WorldCat Resource Sharing. For assistance, contact OCLC support: 800.848.5800 or support@oclc.org. Learn more about OCLC services from the Illinois State Library.
  • Lastly, you have the option of faxing or emailing an ALA ILL form to a prospective supplier.

Interlibrary Loan Responsibilities

ILL carries a number of responsibilities for all of our members:

ILLINET is the statewide alliance of libraries that are members of the Illinois library systems. All RAILS libraries are ILLINET members.