Interlibrary Loan (ILL) refers to the borrowing and lending of books and other materials between libraries, including the delivery of electronic or photocopied articles from periodicals. The ILL service is designed to serve the research needs of Bluffton University students, faculty and staff. With interlibrary loan, staff at Musselman Library attempt to find a library which owns what you need and will loan it to us.
The ILL service is used when materials are not available here at Bluffton or from OhioLINK borrowing. Also, ILL (not OhioLINK) is used to request articles from journals, magazines and newspapers, whenever the content is not available from Musselman Library s print or electronic collections.
To make an ILL request, use our request forms for articles or for books, videos and other media. Whenever you have questions about making an interlibrary loan request (or wonder if the resource may actually be available here or from an OhioLINK library), be sure to consult with a librarian or with Audra Oglesbee, Access Services Coordinator.
What’s the difference between ILL and OhioLINK/OPAL? Interlibrary loan provides access to resources not available from our partner libraries in Ohio, members of the OPAL (Ohio Private Academic Libraries) and OhioLINK consortia. With interlibrary loan, staff at Musselman Library attempt to locate a library which owns what you need and will loan it to us, whether here in the United States or locations around the world.
How long does it take? Articles: An average wait is about one week for articles; however, it could take up to three weeks for articles that are difficult to locate or that are delivered our website by postal mail. More and more, libraries provide articles electronically, and so the wait time is less.
How will the item be delivered, and how will I be notified? Articles: Usually the article will be delivered by email, so be sure to include your email address on your requests. Sometimes the article will be delivered by campus mail.
The ILL department will do its best to accommodate special arrangements for material delivery; patrons needing special arrangements may note this on the electronic request form or contact Audra Oglesbee ( or 419-358-3271).
The interlibrary loan department will keep track of copyright needs for you
How much does it cost? Usually, there are no costs associated with interlibrary loan requests. Occasionally, there may be charges for lending and/or copyright, but Musselman Library will pay for up to $ for an interlibrary loan request. If the cost is above this amount, we will contact you to verify that you are willing to pay the difference before we request the item. Also, if there are multiple requests that involve special lending and/or copyright charges for the library, there may be need to review these requests with you.
How long can I keep the item? Each library from which we borrow has their own policies and procedures they must follow. This means some libraries may only allow one week, while other libraries will allow three weeks. The due date is set from the time the lending library sends the book out NOT from the time you check it out. Articles do not need to be returned.
May I renew the item? Some libraries allow renewals, while others do not. If you need a renewal, please contact Audra Oglesbee ( or 419-358-3271)) at least three days in advance of the due date, and we will contact the loaning library to request a renewal. Remember, however, this is only a request; while most libraries allow renewals, some will not.
Will I be charged overdue fines? If your book (or other item) is overdue, you will be charged overdue fines of .50 cents a day, beginning the day after the due date period printed on the book band. There is NO grace period on interlibrary loan materials. Any item 30 days or more overdue will automatically be billed for replacement at $ and your library account will be suspended. Upon timely return, this amount will be reduced to the fine of $.
Do I need to be concerned about copyright? In brief, the ILL department follows these procedures to ensure copyright compliance:
All current Bluffton University students, faculty, and staff are eligible to borrow materials via interlibrary loanmunity and alumni patrons are eligible for a limited number of loans from OPAL and OhioLINK libraries but not for traditional interlibrary loan or document (article) delivery
- No more than one request for an article photocopy may be made per person from any one issue of a periodical.
- A total of no more than five requests may be made from the issues published within the past five years from any one periodical title.
Anything that exceeds these guidelines will need copyright permission. If there are copyright charges that exceed the $ allowed for each request, the ILL department will contact you before proceeding with your request.