Interlibrary Loan

What is Interlibrary Loan?

Interlibrary Loan is a service that allows members of our library to request and borrow books, articles, and other materials from thousands of participating libraries. Take advantage of this service to borrow anything you need for class or fun that we don't own!

How Does It Work?

Request items from other libraries using your online library account (look below for detailed instructions). When requests arrive, you will be notified by email. When you are finished with the materials, simply return the materials to the Library. If you live out-of-state, or are unable to make it to campus for any reason, refer to the section entitled Interlibrary Loan Information for Out-of-State Students below for more information about how to receive the fastest ILL service in your area.

How Long Does It Take?

Shipping and processing times vary greatly. Books and other physical items often arrive within 5-10 business days, while e-mailed articles are significantly faster (2-3 business days). Please be advised that some items are difficult to obtain, and may involve significantly longer processing and shipping times.

What Does It Cost?

Nearly all requests are free of charge. In very rare instances, other libraries may charge before lending their materials. Each online ILL request form asks whether or not you are willing to pay to borrow the material. Mark yes only if you are willing to pay added fees. We will contact you before finalizing any request that requires payment.

Finding Materials Owned by other ODIN Libraries

Can't find a book you need in our catalog? Try expanding your search by searching for other libraries in the Online Dakota Information Network (ODIN):

  • Access our webpage and search for the item you are looking for in our catalog.
  • If you can't find it, expand your search by selecting All ODIN Academic Libraries in the drop-down menu:

All Libraries

  • Your search results will return items from participating libraries all over North Dakota; click on Check for Available Services to see which libraries hold a particular item.

Multiple Locations

Borrowing Items from ODIN Libraries

  • Determine which item you would like to borrow, click on the item's title to open the item's record.
  • If you have not logged into your library account, click Sign In.
    • If you are a VCSU Student, Staff, or Faculty member, choose NDUS, and on the following screen, log in using your username and password.
    • For community users, choose Local, and in the User ID, enter in your library card barcode. In the password field, enter your last name.
  • Once you have logged in, you should see a Resource Sharing link; click it. You will then see a form similar to that below:

Click to zoom

  • For Desired Media, choose whether you want to request a book or article. The form slightly changes based on which of these you choose (see below for more information about requesting articles).
  • Most of the rest of the form will be filled out automatically, but you can make any changes that you need; in particular, if you want only a certain range of pages instead of the entire book, you can select Digital or Photocopy and you will receive these pages scanned (either digitally or in a paper copy)./
  • After clicking Send Request, your ILL request will be submitted. You can check the status of your request by accessing Your Account. For more information about accessing your account, please click here.

Locating Articles

While the library offers a large collection of full-text electronic journal titles, our collection is fair from comprehensive. Users may find occasion to search outside of our collection for a specific title, or simply to see what other articles are available under a specific set of search criteria.To search for additional articles (particularly those found searching Google Scholar or elsewhere), enter your search criteria into the Articles Primo search. If you do not find what you are looking for, select the “Expand My Results” option on the right-hand side of the Primo limiters menu:

Click to zoom

Selecting this option will allow you to view additional article information indexed under your search criteria. Please note that this additional information does not guarantee the article is available in our collection—This option simply allows users to view additional publications and make requests for them through Interlibrary Loan.

Should you happen to locate the article you are looking for, select “Check for available services” to view your options. In most cases, the article will be unavailable in our collection, and you will need to either sign in or click Resource Sharing.

By selecting the Request Document via VCSU Interlibrary Loan option, you will see a form similar to the book requesting ILL form. Make sure to check that the information is accurate, and make changes as needed.

Finding Materials Owned by Barnes County Valley City Public Library

The Valley City Barnes County Public Library (VCBCPL) offers another collection of library materials right here in Valley City! To search their library catalog, please visit their catalog's website at Please note that all ILL requests will be compared to the VCBCPL's collection before submission.

The VCBCPL offers free borrowing cards to all Barnes County residents. In order to obtain a borrowing card, please visit the VCBCPL with a photo ID and proof of residency. Out-of-area students may obtain a borrowing card with a photo ID (or NDUS Identification Certificate) and Viking Card.

Finding Materials Outside of ODIN

If you can't find an item in the ODIN catalog, don't worry! Most libraries offering ILL services can borrow materials from around the country, and even around the world. To search/browse books owned by libraries outside of ODIN, you will need to search for the item in Worldcat. Worldcat is a catalog operated by OCLC that lists materials owned by participating libraries around the world, though the bulk of participating libraries are in the United States.

To request an item from Worldcat:

  • Search in Worldcat for a subject, author, title, etc.
  • Click on the hyperlinked title (just as you would in our catalog) to open up the item's record.
  • Copy down that information, and fill out a request using an online form in your library account (below).

Using Online Forms in My Account

If you know basic bibliographic information about the book or article you wish to request (such as title, author, publisher, etc.), and you want to request the book for pick up at VCSU, you can fill out a blank ILL form online:

  • Login to your account by clicking the My Account link in the upper-right corner of the library's website.
  • You should be prompted to enter username and password. In the top field, enter your library barcode. For VCSU users, this is your EMPLID, which can be found on your Viking Card. For community users, this is the number on your library card. In the password field, enter your last name. VCSU students, staff, and faculty can also login using their NDUS username and password.
  • Once you have logged in, click on the ILL Requests - Books or ILL Requests - Articles tabs.
  • Select Articles if you would like a copy of a journal article. Select Book Request to file a request for everything else:

Book & Article Request Forms

Interlibrary Loan Information for Out-of-State Students

Allen Memorial Library offers Interlibrary Loan services to all VCSU students. However, depending on the distance a student lives away from Valley City, it may be impractical to visit the campus to pick up your books. We are able to ship the items we receive to you. However, the added shipping times will reduce the amount of time a distance student will be able to have that item checked out. As a result, students who find themselves in this situation may find it useful to consult local libraries for their ILL offerings instead of requesting them through VCSU.

Locate the academic and/or public libraries nearest you. Many public libraries offer interlibrary loan to their patrons, and quite a few public colleges and universities will offer community borrowing cards. Make sure to inquire from these institutions whether they offer interlibrary loan, and if so, if they charge any fees per item. While VCSU does not charge for ILL materials, many other libraries offset costs by charging a nominal fee per item. Occasionally, these fees can be significant--up to $25 per item! Be sure to ask about any fees before you request materials!

If you cannot find a library that offers interlibrary loan in your area, Allen Memorial Library can ship ILL materials to you. Indicate in the Notes field of the Interlibrary loan form that you would like the item to be mailed to you at a specific address. Allen Memorial Library can also ship our own materials to you. Simply fill out a Distance Loan Form online.

Please be aware that the item will be shipped from the lending library to Allen Memorial before being mailed to your location, which will reduce the total allowable time that you will be able to use the item. You will also be responsible for paying for the return shipping of the item to Allen Memorial library.


If you have any questions about the Interlibrary Loan process or have special requests, please feel free to contact Allen Memorial Library.