The Hidden Cost of Interlibrary Loan

Interlibrary Loan is an alternative method of obtaining access to research materials needed by our users that are not available on campus, through OhioLINK or through SearchOhio. The University Libraries provide interlibrary loan services to our faculty, staff and students at no charge; however, the request process is not necessarily free.

Fees for Borrowing Materials:

The Libraries have reciprocal borrowing agreements with other libraries in which we agree not to charge them for items they request from our collections and they do not charge us for items we request from theirs. However, when no reciprocal agreement exists, we have to pay a fee to the lending library for each item we request. These fees are typically $10 to $25 for each item borrowed.

Copyright Fees:

When the Libraries borrow journal articles, we can incur copyright fees. We can borrow up to five articles each year from the most recent five years of any individual journal title without a charge. After that, we pay a copyright fee for each additional article borrowed from that same five years. Copyright fees vary from publisher to publisher, but they can range from as little as $25 to $75 or more per article.

Impact on Our Users:

The Libraries intend to continue providing interlibrary loan to our users. However, we are very concerned about the impact our budget situation and the resulting need to cancel journal subscriptions may have on the demand for this service. If the charge for a particular request is unusually high, we may contact the requestor to determine if the material requested is essential. Also, if the volume of requests exceeds our ability to absorb the associated costs, we may have to charge our users for the cost of the request.

For more information on ILL, please visit our website: