Skip to Content

University Libraries - News, Events & Exhibits

ILL offers new online feature

Jan 12, 2012 2:19 PM
USC faculty who ask to borrow a book or other item from another institution through Interlibrary Loan (ILL) now have the option to request that the item be purchased and added to the Libraries’ collection.

“While ILL users have always had the ability to request that the University purchase an item, it is now much easier for them to do so,” said Amber Gibbs, Interim Head of Interlibrary Loan at Thomas Cooper Library. “Faculty who have logged onto the ILL site can make a purchase request for a material item, like a book, DVD or journal. We’ve made the whole process easier for the patron; it definitely moves us toward a more patron-driven process. And it acts as a bridge from ILL to Acquisitions.

“Here’s how it works: after logging on to the ILL site at, users will see a box to the right with the heading, ‘Suggest this Item for Purchase’,” Gibbs said. “Type in a book’s title or its ISBN (International Standard Book Number), and then answer a few quick questions, such as ‘Would you recommend USC purchase this item?’ and ‘How essential is it to your research or teaching?’”

When the request form is submitted, it is routed directly to the library’s Acquisitions department for review. A decision about the purchase request can be made quickly and the patron can be informed of the decision in a timely manner.

“We have a procedure for evaluating a requested purchase,” said Gary Geer, Head of Acquisitions and Collection Development. “We ask, ‘Is it available for purchase?’ Most items are, but some are rare or one-of-a-kind. We then ask, ‘What’s the price? Is it possible for us to purchase this?’ Also, ‘What is its availability? How fast can we get it?’

“If I find an available copy and it looks like it will be easy to get, I contact the requester and tell them we’ll purchase it and when they can expect it,” he said. “If not, we’ll recommend that the requester go ahead and borrow the item, and ILL will take care of that for them.”

The new ILL request feature is for USC faculty use now, although there are plans to include students and staff in the future.