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Interlibrary Loan - Borrowing Information

Interlibrary loan (ILL) provides Boston College faculty, staff and students with access to research materials unavailable in the Boston College Libraries system. Although requests may be placed in a variety of ways and from different locations, the main Interlibrary Loan office is located on the third floor of O'Neill Library. Under normal circumstances, there is no charge for Interlibrary Loan.

Requesting (How to)

Interlibrary loan borrowing requests may be submitted by logging in to your Interlibrary Loan account, and completing an online form.  When locating a specific citation using an online database, you do not have to exit the database to place an ILL request.  Click on the "Find It" button when available and choose the appropriate option.  All online requests are routed to the Interlibrary Loan Office located in O'Neill Library for processing. The Law Library processes borrowing requests for the Boston College law school faculty, staff and students.


Current students, faculty (including emeritus and retired) and staff with a valid Boston College ID can request items through ILL.  The service is not available to alumni, guest borrowers or fee-card holders. If you are a member of the law school community you must choose that option when you place your first request and register.

Research, Teaching and Graduate Assistants

Faculty members may designate an assistant to make interlibrary loan requests.  Research assistants should identify themselves by indicating the faculty member’s name in the note field of the ILL request form.

What can be requested?

In general, a loan or a copy of any material may be requested from another library, although the lending library will decide in each case whether or not a particular item can be provided.

Requests will be accepted for the following material:

  • Not owned by the BC libraries
  • Owned by BC libraries but charged out or listed in Holmes as missing, long overdue, bindery, or in process
  • If an item is held at BC, but is unavailable for any of the reasons above, please note this on the request

What cannot be requested

  • Tests and Measures
  • Harvard Business School Cases

How long does it take?

Articles are usually received within 1–2 days and books in 2-7 business days.  However, sometimes BC must request the item from several libraries before successfully obtaining it.  If you have a deadline beyond which the material will not be useful to you, indicate the date on the request form

Tips for expediting ILL requests:

  • Provide a full citation
  • Thoroughly check the holdings in the Holmes library catalog before placing the request.
  • Include an ISSN/ISBN number

Notification/Delivery Options

You will be notified by e-mail when a requested book arrives.  Please bring a copy of your email notification with you when you come to pick up your material.  Loans are picked up at the O’Neill Circulation Desk and charged out to your Boston College Interlibrary account. 

Journal Articles
Users will be notified via email when an article arrives at BC.  You may obtain the article by clicking the link provided in the email and logging into your ILL account.

Length of Loans

Loan periods are established by the lending library, varying from one week to one month.  The due date is noted on the label on the book’s cover.  No renewals are granted for books loaned through ILL.  Borrowed items may be subject to recall by the lending library. 

Restrictions on Use

This library is bound by any restrictions on use imposed by the lending institution - some libraries require that the material loaned be used in the borrowing library; some do not allow photocopying; some require the signature of the user of unpublished dissertations. In all cases, any restrictions will be clearly indicated on the band on the front of the book.

Loan returns

Loans must be returned to the O’Neill Library – to the circulation desk, book drop, or ILL office. Do not return interlibrary loan books to other Boston College Libraries.

Loss or Damage

You are responsible for all costs associated with lost or damaged materials. The lending library assesses the charges for lost items and the charges will vary. You are responsible for payment of the charges levied by the lending library. If the materials are lost in transit or after they have been returned to a Boston College library, the Interlibrary Loan office will assume responsibility for the loss.

Copyright and Reciprocal Agreements

The service is administered in accordance with the American Library Association's National Interlibrary Loan Code (1993), the U.S. Copyright Revision Act of 1976 (17. United States Code. 101 et seq.) and in conformance with the resource sharing agreements with the Boston Library Consortium (BLC), the Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities (AJCU), the Boston Theological Institute (BTI), the Massachusetts Library and Information Network (MLIN) and reciprocal agreements entered into with individual libraries. The “fair use” interpretation is known as the CONFU guidelines. Boston College Libraries adheres to the CONFU guidelines.


Some limits on borrowing are mandated by U.S. Copyright law and guidelines. After this limit is reached, a royalty fee must be paid for each subsequent article requested by the Boston College Libraries.  In cases where requests from an individual may violate the copyright law, Interlibrary Loan staff will inform the user and provide alternative access to the information. Although there are no specific limits on the number of requests a user may submit at one time or have outstanding at one time, interlibrary loan staff may have to impose limits or temporary quotas when daily requests number over 50.