George Mason University

Interlibrary Loan Services - General Information

Interlibrary Loan helps you obtain research materials you need that are not available from George Mason University Libraries or Washington Research Library Consortium (WRLC) libraries.

Who Can Use ILL?
ILL is available to current George Mason University faculty, staff and students in good standing.

Please note: the George Mason University Law Library provides interlibrary loan service to faculty and students at the School of Law.

George Mason University ILL is not available to Passport library users. Fee-paying borrowers may obtain this service through their local public, school, academic, or corporate library.

Students and faculty from other academic universities must use the Interlibrary Loan services of their home institutions.

What Materials Can I Request through Interlibrary Loan?
Many scholarly books and journal articles not owned by the George Mason University Libraries are available through Interlibrary Loan. Items listed in the Mason catalog as missing, lost, checked out, or overdue may be requested through ILL. Sometimes we can borrow items available in microfilm or microfiche formats, musical scores, theses/dissertations, and audiovisual materials.

However, many libraries will not lend their theses or dissertations, and most will not lend audiovisual materials, including musical CDs and DVDs. High-demand items, such as textbooks, and rare items, such as manuscripts and materials held in Special Collections at other libraries, are usually not available through interlibrary loan. Additionally, the following resources are generally not available through Interlibrary Loan: entire volumes or issues of journals; genealogical research material; computer software; maps; newspapers in printed format; rare books; original manuscripts; recently published items and current bestsellers; non-circulating items; most unpublished items.

Items available in Reference and on Reserve at George Mason University Libraries or through Mason's electronic collections will not be borrowed for patrons.

The ILL office will try to help you identify sources and options for items that cannot be borrowed, when possible.

How Long Does ILL Take?
On average, we receive books from other libraries within 7 days of the request being made. We usually receive articles from other libraries within 5 days, due to electronic delivery methods. Requests for popular and rare items may take much longer to obtain.

We recommend that you select "yes" for "Preferred Electronic Delivery if Possible" under your ILLiad user information to ensure the fastest delivery of article requests. Popular items, multimedia and A/V, and rare items may take longer to borrow, if we can find a library willing to lend them. Requests that violate copyright law will not be processed.

How Many Requests Can I Make?
Patrons should limit their requests to ten per day. The ILL office reserves the right to establish priorities of service in instances where the number of requests received from a single patron might adversely affect the service offered to others.

How Long Can I Keep an Item?
You are responsible for the safe return of any ILL item that you borrow by its due date.

Most loans can be borrowed for 4 weeks, and sometimes the lending library will allow one renewal. Due dates are set by the lending library, not by the ILL office, regardless of your status. Most Virginia academic libraries offer an 8 week loan period, but they will not allow renewals. The conditions of interlibrary loan service are set by the National Interlibrary Loan Code and our agreements with other libraries. All restrictions and due dates are determined by the lending library and must be honored. Restrictions may include "in-library use only" or "no photocopying". Loans may be recalled by the lending library at any time. Please use the item completely by its due date, and return the item on time. If photocopying is allowed, you may find it necessary to copy information in the item to refer back to at a later time. If you anticipate needing a title longer than the loan period, please contact the ILL office to discuss your options. We may refer you to your liaison librarian to discuss if the University Libraries can purchase an item to add to the collections.

Can I Renew an Item?
Check the green slip on your ILL item. What appears after the words, "Renewals Allowed?"

If "No," then renewals are not allowed by the lending library.

If "Yes," you can make a renewal request by logging into your ILLiad account at On the left-hand side of the screen, click the "Checked Out Items" link underneath the "View" heading. Next, click on the TN number for the item you wish to renew. Finally, click "Renew This Request" at the top of the screen.

Please note, renewals are completely at the discretion of the lending library. Any renewal request must be made before the item's original due date. You will receive an email notification regarding your renewal request as soon as the lending library responds. If you do not receive an email regarding your renewal request within 3 days, please contact the Interlibrary Loan Office.

If you need an item longer than its due date, please contact the ILL Office to discuss your options. Depending upon an item's availability, we may be able to help.

How Often Can I Request the Same Item?
In general, we can only borrow an item once per person.

How Much Does It Cost?
The average cost of each completed interlibrary loan request is $28, not including additional lending fees charged by lending libraries (often $15-20 per request). The George Mason University Libraries absorb most fees charged by other libraries for supplying materials via interlibrary loan. Therefore, we ask that you carefully consider your need for any item that you request. You are responsible for any fines or fees charged by the lending library for late, damaged, or lost items.

What Fees or Fines Might I Have to Pay?
You will be responsible for any overdue fines or late fees charged by the lending library. In the event that an item is lost or damaged, you are responsible for replacement and/or repair costs, including any associated processing fees and surcharges assessed by the lending library. Users of ILL services are expected to promptly pay any fines and/or replacement costs arising from their requests. Should you lose or damage an ILL item, contact ILL at (703) 993-2228 or illloan@ immediately.

What Happens If I Don't Return My Items On Time?
All users:

The Interlibrary Loan Office will email you when your due date is approaching. If you keep any interlibrary loan item 15 days or more past its due date, your ILLiad account will be blocked and you will be unable to place additional requests. If you have a severely overdue item, you will be billed for replacement costs.

Students who keep an item more than 4 weeks past its due date will have their library privileges suspended. PatriotWeb student accounts will be blocked for students with ILL items more than 5 weeks overdue. Repeated failures to return books borrowed through interlibrary loan may result in permanent removal of Mason library privileges, including interlibrary loan privileges.

How Do I Submit a Request?
Before placing a request, always check the George Mason University's Library Catalog, E-Journals search, and the WRLC ALADIN catalog to be sure an item is not available. Most materials are borrowed through other libraries in Virginia.

Requests can be submitted 24 hours a day through ILLiad, at Use ILLiad to submit requests, check the status of requests, access electronically delivered articles, request renewals (when allowed), and update your user information.

Where Do I Pick Up and Return Materials?
In your ILL account, you will specify your preferred "Pick Up Location." These locations include the Arlington Campus Library, Fenwick Library on the Fairfax Campus, and Mercer Library on the Prince William Campus. You will pick up your requests at the Circulation Desk of your preferred Pick Up Location.

You may return ILL items to any Circulation Desk in the following Mason campus libraries: Arlington Campus Library, Fenwick Library, and Mercer Library. We do not recommend returning ILL items to the Johnson Center Library as your item cannot be checked in at that location. You are responsible for any ILL item until it is checked in through ILLiad.

How Do I Contact the ILL Office?

Mailing Address:
Interlibrary Loan
George Mason University Libraries
4400 University Drive, MS 2FL
Fairfax, VA 22030

Physical Address: Fenwick Library (behind Circulation Desk)

Phone: (703) 993-2228
Fax: (703) 993-2255

Hours at Fenwick Library: Monday-Friday, 9:00am to 5pm