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Requesting Materials from Other Libraries

Interlibrary Loan (Borrowing)

What is it?

Interlibrary loan (ILL) is a service that allows patrons from one library to borrow the materials of other libraries around the world through library networks. Roger Williams University is a member of three separate networks that allows us to obtain materials from thousands of libraries of all types.

The ILL Department conducts all interlibrary loan transactions in accordance with the Rhode Island Interlibrary Loan Code, the ALA Interlibrary Loan Code and U. S. Copyright regulations. For more information on Copyright, please check out our Copyright LibGuide.
Materials obtained through ILL are for the sole use of the patron submitting the request. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact us at or 401-254-3458. We are continually striving to improve the service and welcome all comments that you may have.

Who can use it?

This service is offered to all current RWU students, faculty, staff, and administrators with a clean library record. Anyone having long overdue library materials or a blocked record is not eligible until the record is cleared. If you are having an issue with your account, please call the Information Desk at 401-254-3375.
How Do I Make a Request?
Simply fill out the appropriate form to request these materials:

If what you want is not located in the links above, please click on any one of the options. It will bring you to a page with more options on the right-hand side. In order to request a video/cd, etc., please use the book request form.

What can I borrow?

While the Roger Williams University Library does not place any restriction on the type of items that you may request, certain materials are harder to obtain than others. The following is a list of items that can be difficult to obtain and will generally take longer to arrive (if at all) than most requests.

• Reference
• Genealogy
• Archival and Special collections materials (Rare or valuable materials)
• Current year publications
• Popular fiction
• Entire Journal issues
• Textbooks
• Maps
• Theses/Dissertations
• Software (video games, dvd's, etc.)
• Conference proceedings

If we are unable to obtain an item, we will send out an e-mail notifying you of this issue. In this case, contacting a reference librarian will be beneficial. Please check here to see your departmental liaison. The librarian for your department will be able to provide expertise in locating alternative information on your topic.

How long will it take to receive my request?

For a returnable item (book, film, etc.), ILL turnaround times depends on many factors, including but not limited to:  availability of the requested item, location of the lending library, and the speed (first class, priority, library rate, etc.) that the item is shipped. You should allow at least 2 weeks for a physical item to be delivered. Plan at least three business days for a non-returnable item, such as a journal article. Feel free to contact the ILL department if you want an update on the status of a particular request.

How long can I keep an item? Can I renew it? How often?

Lending times are determined by the lending library. Past experience has shown that it can be anywhere from 2 weeks to 2 months.

ILL requests may be renewed. However, permission for that renewal has to be granted by the lending library. Therefore, any renewal requests should be made 5 or more days before the due date by emailing or calling the ILL department at 401-254-3458. We will contact the lending library to see if they will allow an extension on the loan. Once we have heard back from the lending library, we will inform you whether or not an extension was granted, and if so, what the new due date is.

While many libraries grant one renewal, a second renewal may be difficult to obtain. Please plan your research accordingly and make ILL materials a priority.

Where do I pick up my request?

If your request was for a book chapter or journal article (or any other item where electronic delivery is possible), the request will be sent to the e-mail address that you provided when you filled out your ILL request. If you did not provide an e-mail address when submitting your request, the article will be sent to the e-mail address in your library account.

If the request was for a book (or any other physical material), the request can be picked up at the Information Desk. An e-mail will be sent alerting you to the arrival of your request.

Are there any fees?

Interlibrary Loan is a free service provided to all eligible Roger Williams University Library patrons. Patrons will, however, be responsible for fees or fines (from the lending library) resulting from the late return, loss, or damage of borrowed materials during the period that the patron has the item. The fees for damaged or lost materials typically (but not always) reflect the price of the cost of replacement in addition to a non-refundable processing fee. The processing fee varies from library to library but may exceed $50.
All fines for damaged/lost material will be sent to the Bursar’s office.


Interlibrary Loan (Lending)


Who May Borrow From Us?

The RWU Interlibrary Loan department will accept article requests from both domestic and international libraries. However, our policy is to only fill requests for returnable items from domestic libraries.

Interlibrary loan is a library to library transaction. Any individual that has located an item that they wish to borrow from our collection should request it through their local library.


How does the borrowing library place a request?

We will accept requests through various methods, including:
• Docline: RIURWC
If your lending library does not have access to either of the above you may submit a request through:
• E-mail: or
• Fax: 401-254-0818
• Mail: Interlibrary Loan/Roger Williams University Library/One Old Ferry Road/Bristol, RI  02879
Please use a standard ALA form if requesting by mail, e-mail or fax.

What do we lend?

Items we typically do not lend include:

• Reference materials
• Items in poor condition
• Archive/Special Collection materials – Please contact our University Archivist directly at if you need access to any of our materials in Special Collections.
• Theses
• Whole Journal Issues
• Course/Desk Reserve Items
• Newspapers
• Educational Resource Videos – The library has developed a collection of videos requested by faculty to support their teaching. These do not circulate outside of RWU.

If you have any questions of whether or not we will lend a particular item, please contact us at We understand the importance of resource sharing at RWU and will try to accommodate all requests that we can.

How long is RWU’s lending period? Do we allow renewals?

The RWU Libraries circulates all ILL materials for 8 weeks with one renewal allowed. Additional renewals will be granted at the discretion of the Access Services and Resource Sharing Supervisor. Renewals may be denied if the item is needed for course reserve or if the item is too long overdue.

Are there any fees?

We currently lend materials to everyone for free. However, a fee will be charged for lost or damaged materials. A minimum of $100 will be charged as a replacement fee. Replacement copies for a lost or damaged item will be accepted on a case to case basis, depending on the approval of the Collection Management Librarian.


All items will be shipped out via USPS Library Rate in the 48 contiguous states. For Alaska and Hawaii, items will be shipped out via USPS First Class. If you need a quicker turnaround (a Rush request) on an item, you may provide us a FedEx or UPS shipping account number and we will use that.