Interlibrary Loans FAQ


How does interlibrary loans work?

Interlibrary loans (ILL) is a service that allows Queen’s University members to borrow books from other lending institutions. The library requests materials on your behalf from other Canadian academic libraries as well as institutions in the United States, and further abroad if required.

Can I request material if I do not have access to a Queen’s student card or staff card?

You are required to have an active Queen’s student or staff account to request materials in Omni.

Can I request other materials (aside from books)?

Books, journal articles, newspaper articles, book chapters, theses/dissertations and conference proceedings may be requested. Libraries will not normally lend rare books, reference materials, eBooks, textbooks, DVD’s, or full journals.

Can I borrow electronic books?

Borrowing of electronic books is currently not possible through interlibrary loans. Electronic books are licensed to libraries using restricted access models that frequently prohibit interlibrary loans. Our library is working with other institutions and organizations to seek changes to these restrictions.

If available, we will attempt to borrow a print copy for you.

How long do ILLs normally take to arrive?

Interlibrary loans staff will make every effort to get the material requested in the shortest time possible. Delivery time depends on many factors, such as where the material is located and how quickly a library or supplier can respond to requests. In general, placing a request through Omni for a book owned by one of our Omni partners will be faster than if we have to go outside the consortia.

What is the loan period?

The loan period for your item may vary depending on the item-owning institution's policy. We try to find a copy of your requested item within Omni first which is our Ontario Consortial borrowing system. Most loans from our Omni partners will be 120 days. If an item is not available in Omni, we use a broader Interlibrary loan system to request from other partner libraries. Loan periods will vary from the various partners. If your request has a band on the book, please pay attention to the due dates and all email notices which will inform you when your book should be returned.

Can I renew my interlibrary loans item(s)?

Items borrowed from our 18 Consortia partners can be renewed through My Library Account. If an item is not from our consorita partners, renewals may be permited but you will not have access to do this through your library account.  Please contact Interlibrary loans staff by email at to inquire about a renewal.

Why was my request rejected/cancelled?

After all available borrowing locations have been exhausted, our office will notify you that the request could not be filled. Your request may be forwarded to a librarian to assess potential purchase of the item.

Can I monitor my requests?

Original requests made in Omni can be monitored in your library account. If the request goes outside the Omni Parters to a broader Interlibrary loan system you can reach us by email at to inquire about your request.

How will I know my item has arrived?

You will be notified by email when the material is available. If the request was found to be located at an Omni partner you can pick up your request from the Information Services Desk you specified when submitting your request. (Stauffer, Education or Bracken libraries) If the request goes outside the Omni partners your request will be available for pickup at Stauffer Library.

If you request a copy of an article or book sections, you will be sent a web link to an electronic copy, with instructions for retrieving it.

Can I return my item to another library?

All Omni partner campus libraries will return any library materials owned by another Omni Partner. All other requests must be returned to a Queen's University Library location.

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