Skip to Main Content

InterLibrary Loan: FAQ

Interlibrary Loan FAQ

The ILL Process

  • Before we order

    • We check to make sure that we do not own it.
      • If we do and it is checked out we will order it for you.
      • If it is available we will notify you or, if you take classes off campus we will mail it to you.
    • We check to make sure that the article is not available online.
  • How we order

    • We check on the status of your request every 3 days or so and follow up on problems with the lending library.
    • You can monitor the status of your request through Tipasa.
  • How we deliver

    • When we receive the items we notify you immediately via an email to your SVSU email.
    • For articles we use electronic delivery via Tipasa to provide 24-7 access to your requests.
      • Note: the notification email includes a link with a password specific to that article.  Use Tipasa to view all available articles.
    • If you take classes off campus we will send you the materials (you are responsible for returning materials with due dates),
  • Before we cancel a request

    • If it cannot be found as cited:
      • We verify your citation to check for mistakes or incompleteness.
      • We search not only by title but ISSN (articles) or ISBN (books).
      • If we found a matching record on the system but no libraries are able/willing to loan to us:
        • We try other searches (variations on title, ISSN/ISBN, other editions, etc.) to find a record with different libraries to choose from.
      • For articles we check to see if the article is available free online on the Web.
      • If our original order comes back unfilled and there are more libraries to choose from we will contact you to see if you want us to try again.
  • Why We Can't Fill Every Request

    • Dissertations
      • Usually only 1-2 libraries own a dissertation, and many choose not to loan them to other libraries (our success rate is around 25%).
    • New Books
      • Many times information about a new book is made available before the book is released (pre-publication information from Books in Print or
        • In those cases the book is not available from our partner libraries.
        • When a book is finally released for distribution it takes a while for libraries to purchase, process, and catalog them.
        • In addition, many libraries to not lend recently purchased books (us included).
    • Old, Reference and Novelty Books
      • Very old books are often in poor condition or are rare and irreplaceable and are kept in non-circulating Archives collections (us included).
      • Few libraries lend Reference books.
      • Some novelty/specialty books may have a limited publication (e.g., genealogy family histories) or may be considered a high-risk for theft or damage and are not lent.
    • Articles
      • Electronic journals licenses vary greatly. 
      • New, foreign, and esoteric journals may be represented only a few libraries. 
      • Expense. In cases where costs are prohibitive we will contact you (e.g., copyright fees, borrowing fees, etc.).


  • Getting into Tipasa is no problem, but I cannot read the document.
    • Adobe Acrobat is probably not loaded. This may be done at
    • NOTE: step one is loading the download file onto your PC.
    • Note *where* the download is going to!
  • I am unable to Print articles from Tipasa  and Adobe Acrobat is installed.
    • If Acrobat opens in your browser instead of a separate window make sure you use the Acrobat print icon instead of your browser print commands.
      • Forgetting to do this will result in printing one blank page only.
    • These ILL articles come in huge files, sometimes 1 mb and more. Not only does it take a long time for some of them to load (depending on your connection), but then printing them requires reloading again. Depending on your Printer's memory, this could take a long time as well.
    • Bottom line: if the document is loading, be *very* patient.
    • Best bet: find the fastest Internet connection and printer combination to print the articles.
  • I was not notified that an article or book had arrived
    • If you were not notified, either your Tipasa contact information in is incorrect, or the message was moved to your junk/spam folder.
    • NOTE: You may update your contact information in Tipasa.
      It still remains your responsibility to check on the status of your request (permit at least a week to pass first!). Contact the Circulation Desk (989.964.4240). Tipasa will tell you when the lending library has the article or book in transit.