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Interlibrary Loan FAQ

What is the difference between ILL and CLS?

Consortium Loan Service (CLS) materials come from one of the nine schools that make up the Washington Research Library Consortium (WRLC), including:

  • American University (AU)
  • Catholic University (CU)
  • Gallaudet University (GA)
  • George Mason University (GM)
  • George Washington University (GW)
  • Georgetown University (GT)
  • Howard University (HU)
  • Marymount University (MU)
  • University of the District of Columbia (DC)

Interlibrary Loan (ILL) refers to any materials that we request for you from outside of this list.

Who is eligible to use Consortium Loan Service (CLS) and Interlibrary Loan (ILL) Services?

Current American University students, faculty and staff are eligible to use both CLS and ILL.

How do I request a book/article through CLS or Interlibrary Loan?

Please go here for detailed instructions.

How do I renew my CLS items?

If you log into MyLibraryAccount, you will find links for renewing your CLS items on the left-hand side of your homepage. Please notice that if you have any Georgetown or George Mason books in your possession these will have separate links that direct you to their unique renewal pages. 
You may also contact the Borrowing Desk staff directly by calling 202-885-3221, and they will be able to assist you.

How do I renew my Interlibrary Loan items?

All renewal requests must be placed either before or on the day the item is due. You can place a renewal by logging in to your ILL account and clicking on "view/renew items." You can then open the record of the item you wish to renew and click on the "request renewal" button. If you have any difficulty renewing your book, please email our Interlibrary Loan staff at auill@american.edu.

How long does it take for a CLS Request to arrive?

CLS requests take approximately 2-3 days to be received. They may take longer than that if your request is denied by the first lending library. If a request is denied, it will be forwarded to the next school that has the item listed as available until it has cycled through all possible WRLC libraries.

Why might my CLS request not be filled by a lending library?

The reason(s) that a CLS request would not be filled by a lending library include one or more of the following:
• The item is currently checked out to another patron
• The item cannot be located in the stacks of the lending library
• The volume/issue requested is not owned by the lending library
• The item belongs to a special collection that does not circulate
•  The citation provided is incomplete or incorrect

How long does it take for an ILL request to arrive?

Most books arrive within 10 business days of the request date and most articles will arrive within a week from when the request was placed. An ILL request may take longer than a CLS request to arrive because it is generally coming from farther away and is sent through the mail. If you are requesting rare materials or something that only a few libraries own it may take considerably longer, so please take this into consideration when placing your request.

How will I know the book is ready to be picked up?

You will receive an e-mail indicating that the book is ready for pick-up, but please feel free to contact the library Borrowing Desk at 202-885-3221 if you have any concerns.

Where can I pick up my books and how long will they be held for me?

Books delivered to Bender Library are available to be picked up from the Borrowing Desk. CLS items are held for 10 days unless you let us know that you need more time, and ILL items are held through the duration of the loan period provided by the lending library.

What can I do if I am not an AU student, faculty or staff and need a book not available here?

There is a special fee based service we offer to AU alumni, associate borrowers and OLLI (Osher Lifelong Learning Institute) patrons. This service is for ILL books only and there is a $25 base fee that must be paid per item, plus any additional fee the lending library might charge. 

For ILL/CLS assistance, please contact:

General ILL Office

Shane Hickey
ILL Coordinator

Andrea Paredes-Herrera
ILL Borrowing Specialist

Andrew Bertaina
ILL Lending Specialist