Skip to main content
Banner Image
Ask a Librarian
Databases A-Z
How Do I ..? Frequently Asked Questions
Interlibrary Loan
EWU Libraries Catalog
EWU Libraries Homepage

Interlibrary Loan: Fun Facts

Did you know?

No library can own everything that users might need, so interlibrary loan fills the gap.

Our most important source of materials is our local consortium the Orbis Cascade Alliance (Summit.)

Interlibrary loan between libraries works because it is reciprocal, if we borrow we must also lend in return. It's all about sharing.

Last year:

  • We borrowed  around 3000 physical items (books, microfilm, DVDs, CDs etc.)
  • We received about 5000 copies (journal articles, book chapters etc.) from other libraries.
  • We sent more than 3300 loans and almost 800 copies to other libraries.


We do pay borrowing fees to other libraries, and we also charge those libraries. However, we pay careful attention to costs by obtaining as much material as possible from libraries that don't charge us.

Interesting places we borrow from

We borrow from large libraries, small libraries, public libraries, university and college libraries, research libraries, medical libraries, historical societies, art museums, theological libraries, music conservatories, state libraries, archives, presidential libraries, overseas libraries. For example:

  • Library of Congress
  • Smithsonian
  • British Library
  • Harvard University
  • New York State Library
  • University of Chicago
  • Naval War College
  • Brigham Young University
  • National Library of Medicine
  • The Getty Research Institute
  • National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration
  • CIA

Sometimes we are fortunate enough to get something so special that it can only be used under supervision in the reading room of the Archives and Special Collections department.

Foreign libraries

We sometimes borrow from (and lend to) foreign libraries, but because of the extra shipping time and costs we always check to see if we can obtain the item from a US library first.

We regularly borrow from Canadian libraries, including the National Library of Canada

Other important suppliers are the British Library and the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek in Germany.

Sometimes we have to make special inquiries to see if we can obtain something from a library outside of the usual ILL networks. Over the years we have obtained materials from libraries in France, Great Britain, Ireland, Seoul, and other places.

Ready for pick up

ILL books are kept on special hold shelves at the Circulation Desk until they are ckecked out for use.

Some lending libraries are very generous and share items that are normally non-circulating; they must be used in the library only.

Most Requests by Department

1. Biology

2. Physical Therapy

3. Social Work

4. English