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.

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

  • Members of SHARE Illinois catalogs can place holds directly through the other consortial online catalogs.
  • I-SHARE members may be able to place holds directly through the RAILS-supported catalogs (PrairieCat, SWAN, MAGIC, RSA).
  • All RAILS members should be able to place holds in the CARLI I-SHARE catalog; please see the CARLI ILLINET website for information on obtaining account/login info. (Due to an ILS upgrade this service will be delayed until Spring 2021)
  • Non-SHARE/I-SHARE libraries can buy a user barcode to place holds in PrairieCat or SWAN.
  • OCLC members can request items via WorldCat Resource Sharing. For assistance, contact OCLC support: 800.848.5800 or
  • 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.